2018 Malibu Stakes Entries & Odds

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Santa Anita Park Press Release | OTB Writer

BOB BAFFERT HAS THREE SET FOR GRADE I MALIBU OPENING DAY

Bob Baffert has three likely starters for the Grade I Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita Park on opening day next Wednesday, December 26, headed by two-time Grade I winner McKinzie, who showed he is at the ready with a six furlong workout Sunday in a bullet 1:13.20, fastest of 23 drills at the distance, the average time of which was 1:15.43.

The bay son of Street Sense is coming off a disappointing performance in the Breeders' Cup Classic at a mile and a quarter, but Baffert feels the seven furlongs of the prestigious Malibu, which offers $300,000 in prize money, will be ideal.

2018 Malibu Stakes Odds & Entries

Race 9 on Santa Anita's Wednesday card with a Post Time of 7:00 PM

Entry Horse ML Odds Jockey Trainer
1 Calexman 30-1 Geovanni Franco
120 Lbs
Vladimir Cerin
2 Majestic Dunhill 30-1 Manuel Franco
120 Lbs
George Weaver
3 Copper Bullet 6-1 Jose Ortiz
120 Lbs
Steven Asmussen
4 Still Having Fun 20-1 Kent Desormeaux
122 Lbs
Timothy Keefe
5 Identity Politics 12-1 Irad Ortiz, Jr.
120 Lbs
Chad Brown
6 Axelrod 10-1 John Velazquez
122 Lbs
Michael McCarthy
7 Seven Trumpets 12-1 Robby Albarado
120 Lbs
Dale Romans
8 Nero 12-1 Joseph Talamo
120 Lbs
Bob Baffert
9 Ax Man 5-1 Drayden Van Dyke
120 Lbs
Bob Baffert
10 Bobby's Wicked One 10-1 Tyler Gaffalione
120 Lbs
Albert Stall, Jr.
11 Greyvitos 20-1 Evin Roman
120 Lbs
Adam Kitchingman
12 Kanthaka 6-1 Flavien Prat
122 Lbs
Jerry Hollendorfer
13 McKinzie 7-2 Mike Smith
124 Lbs
Bob Baffert
14 Solomini 10-1 Joel Rosario
120 Lbs
Bob Baffert

"He worked really nice," the two-time Triple Crown winning trainer said on an overcast Monday morning at Clockers' Corner. "He's doing really well. I freshened him up a little after the Breeders' Cup (Nov. 3), and in retrospect, he wasn't ready to go a mile and a quarter . . . but I thought I had him back.

"The Breeders' Cup took me out of my normal program. It's a lot of money and it seemed right, but he just didn't show up. I like the way he's training here for seven-eighths.

McKinzie captured the Grade I Pennsylvania Derby on Sept. 22 and was promoted from second to first via disqualification of stablemate Solomini in the Grade I Los Alamitos Futurity last Dec. 9.

Baffert has Mike Smith booked to ride McKinzie, with Drayden Van Dyke on Ax Man, also ticketed for the Malibu along with Solomini.

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"He's doing really well," Baffert said of AxMan. "We cut (gelded) him. He had a meltdown at Churchill Downs (for the Matt Winn last June), so we gave him some time off and he's been working exceptionally well.

"Solomini is coming off a layoff and has been freshened up. He's an off-the-pace sort.

"I'd prefer running him in a little allowance race but the Malibu is a Grade I, and when you have horses with their breeding, you have to take a shot."

Baffert will be seeking his third Malibu victory, having won it with Shakin It Up in 2013 and The Factor in 2011.

First post time for the 10-race opening day card will be 11:30 a.m.

ASMUSSEN HAS COPPER BULLET PRIMED FOR MALIBU

Copper Bullet, a quick and hard-hitting son of More Than Ready trained by Steve Asmussen, seeks his third straight victory when he runs in the Grade I Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita on opening day, Wednesday, Dec. 26.

The bay colt worked five furlongs at Santa Anita last Friday in a bullet 1:01. Jose Ortiz, who along with his brother, Irad Ortiz Jr., has dominated riding in North America this year, ranking second and first respectively in victories and purse earnings, pilots Copper Bullet.

"He's a happy horse," said Asmussen's foreman, 31-year-old native of Mexico Alberto Bahena at Barn 15 where Copper Bullet is bedded down. "He has a lot of class."

Bahena, who has been with Hall of Fame member and two-time Eclipse Award winner Asmussen for 13 years, was the groom of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin before advancing to foreman.

Copper Bullet has had one race this year, winning a seven furlong allowance test at Churchill Downs Nov. 23 by 3 ½ lengths. He has three wins and two seconds in five career starts, earning $277,000 for owners Winchell Thoroughbreds and Willis Horton Racing LLC.

AIR STRIKE GETS CLASS TEST IN GRADE I MALIBU

Air Strike, a consistent and versatile son of Street Sense, will get tested for class in the Grade I Malibu Stakes but trainer Phil D'Amato is optimistic.

"He's a horse that continues to improve, and he's going to have to keep improving for the Malibu," D'Amato said. "But he likes it here at Santa Anita where he won (an allowance race on Oct 8). The Malibu is the last Grade I (of the year) for three-year-olds, so we'll give it a shot."

Florent Geroux, who rode Air Strike to a second-place finish last out in the Zia Park Derby Nov. 21, retains the mount in the Malibu.

As to the outlook for Santa Anita's premier meet, D'Amato once again has a diverse stable that figures to make its presence felt throughout the campaign.

"We're going to have a lot of new faces here, horses I've acquired from back east, abroad, you name it," D'Amato said. "We're looking forward to getting them started here and hopefully developing them into some nice horses."

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