The Grade 1 Malibu Stakes is a dirt sprint at the distance of seven furlongs for three-year-olds. The Santa Anita race is worth $300k and will go forward at 3:37 PT as the eighth of nine races.
Trainer Bob Baffert has always been high on FED BIZ. The son of Giant’s Causeway disappointed when last seen in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, but could rebound facing his own age group. This looks like a colt that does his best running when on or very close to the lead. Hopefully Mike Smith notices that and tries to zip away for the lead from the inside. If Smith takes back, the colt will have to pass horses, which is something has not been able to do thus far in his six race career.
JIMMY CREED has a ton of talent and he’s a good looker too as proved by the fact that Spendthrift dropped $900k on him as a yearling. He owns two wins from six starts and the only time he has been out of the money was when last seen in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. We can forgive that effort as he was driving to come from behind on a track that was a conveyor belt. This will be his first time going seven furlongs and it could prove to be an ideal trip for the Richard Mandella pupil. Garrett Gomez retains the mount.
DRILL hasn’t been seen in a while, but the Grade 1 winner is working like he means business. Trained by Bob Baffert, he is a perfect three for three at the distance. Martin Garcia can do a number of things with this horse, but is likely to keep him near the front. Dangerous on the comeback at a distance he loves and on a track over which he won the Grade 2 San Vicente when last racing over it.
The horse to beat is THE LUMBER GUY who will be making his first start for Neil Drysdale. He devastated a strong group in the Vosburgh Stakes on September 29 to win going away by a 1 1/4 lengths after having been off since May 12. He returned to be a good second in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. He may have been the benificiary of a speed bias as he essentially sat right behind Sum of the Parts and Trinniberg and didn’t make up any ground on the eventual winner, Trinniberg, after Sum of the Parts weakened. It was a strong effort nonetheless and the third place finisher, Smiling Tiger, has already returned to win. John Velazquez rides back and will find himself on the favorite.
POLITICALLYCORRECT was mighty impressive to close from well back to win the Damascus Stakes on Breeders’ Cup Saturday. As already noted, the track was very speed biased that day and horses that win against the bias are always worth a second look. His last two races have been his best and it looks like the Wesley Ward pupil is turning into quite the contender. If things get hot and heavy he should be the one they have to hold off. Joel Rosario retains the mount.
This is an ambitious spot for BASMATI. His only race this year saw him win an allowance event on November 2 in wire to wire fashion. Jockey Mario Gutierrez would probably be wise to take up a spot near the front once again. Doug O’Neill is the trainer and has been known to spring upsets with horses that don’t necessarily look the part.
CASTAWAY is back for trainer Bob Baffert. The Southwest Stakes winner was badly beaten in the Sunland Derby and then the Lexington Stakes. Freshened since those efforts, the son of Street Sense is going to try Grade 1 company for the first time. His works are fast and Baffert can score off the shelf. Joe Talamo is listed to ride.
PRIVATE ZONE has the best early speed in the race. He seems to be a different horse since arriving back in southern California for the Damuscus Stakes. He set a brutal pace that day and put away a good horse called Mile High Magic in the process. Despite his best efforts, he had to settle for second place honors. After that, he once against contested a tough pace and was once again second to Smiling Tiger in the Underwood Stakes. It looks like he might have an easier time on the lead in the Malibu Stakes. Martin Pedroza rides for Doug O’Neill.
GUILT TRIP is lightly raced and largely and unknown commodity. Transferred to Bob Baffert from Chad Brown, he was last seen finishing fifth in the Discovery Handicap. He was a sharp maiden and allowance optional claiming winner before that. Making his first start for Baffert could really move him up. Having jockey Rafael Bejarano on his side doesn’t hurt matters either.
Steve Asmussen’s UNBRIDLED’S NOTE has steadily improved throughout the year. He finished third at this trip in the King’s Bishop and with a better trip he might have been the winner. He has had two races on the grass since then, winning the Eddie D and finishing second in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. He should be right at home back on dirt. Corey Nakatani retains the mount.
PRIVATE ZONE looks like a decent play. He is an improving horse and could put this group to sleep on the lead. Above all, he figures to offer great betting value.