The Breeders’ Cup World Championships are behind us and Santa Anita is once again taking center stage for the winter meet with two Grade 1 races on the card. Race 8 will be the Malibu Stakes which runs for a purse of $300,000 on dirt. Below is a breakdown of each horse in the field, their odds, post positions, jockeys and anything else you might need to know. Betting strategies, based on bankroll, will be provided to try and help you solve the puzzle that is the 2014 Malibu Stakes. If you are looking for the other Grade 1 at Santa Anita, you can read the 2014 LaBrea Stakes (G1) Contenders, Odds, and Picks.
Race: Malibu Stakes (G1)
Location: Santa Anita Park
Distance: 7 Furlongs
Date: Friday, December 26, 2014
Post Time: 6:52 ET
TV Coverage: Can be found on TVG (online) and HRTV
|1||15-1||Conquest Two Step||Talamo||Remember when CTS convincingly beat Ride On Curlin in 2 yr old debut? Many don't because that was a while ago. Since returning, CTS has a turf allowance win and a 3rd in the El Cajon at Del Mar. Talamo a plus but just unlikely.|
|2||4-1||Chitu||Rosario||An unimpressive 9th at the Derby in May but was probably asked to go to far. Looked good in the Sunland Derby and Robert Lewis prior. Took summer off and returned with a very impressive wire-to-wire win in the Damascus here at SA. Should love 7 furlongs and already loves SA. Interesting.|
|3||6-1||Indianapolis||Stevens||Folks will look the other way after the 10th in the BC Sprint. Might not like the first after a long layoff. Is a stakes winner and has been training well. Gary Stevens a plus. If you can see it as a lesson learned than stranger things have happened. There is talent in this one.|
|4||30-1||Rprettyboyfloyd||R Baze||If you are looking for an angle, he is second off the layoff. Has not faired well in two stakes tries and broke maiden two back. Sorry, nothing else and does not belong. Would be an epic shock.|
|5||10-1||Pimpernel||Garcia||Honestly the M/L of 10-1 even confuses me. I just don't see it here. One stakes try against inferior and that turned into a 9th. Did win allowance over Hoppertunity at this distance over this track last out so those are two plus signs. Is it possible? There is a chance but I would want more like 15-1|
|6||6-1||Midnight Hawk||Espinoza||Bye bye blinkers. Earlier in the year was trending to minor prizes in stakes races. Took a long break and retuned to dud the Damascus but did run 3rd last out in allowance at Del Mar. Chance at minor prize if the blinker removal returns to early year form. Step up unlikely.|
|7||12-1||Tamarando||Leparoux||Both stakes wins in the El Camino Real and the Real Quiet were over synthetic. Tested in multiple stakes races but other surfaces do not yield victories. Doesn't appear to have matured from 2 to 3. Is third off the layoff and would not rule out the chance to hit the board here.|
|8||4-5||Shared Belief||Smith||Okay, everyone will talk about the performance in the Classic and how the armor has some marks now. Funny how everyone says he is unbeatable, now he loses and everyone says how he cannot win. Still 7 for 8 lifetime with wins in the Pacific Classic and Awesome Again. Many horses that had a start and then squeeze like he had in the Classic would have finished 9th. He came in 4th with run. Is he unbeatable? No horse is but the rumors of his demise are overstated. The deserving favorite. Could be a prep for a big 2015 for the gelding.|
|9||20-1||Diamond Bachelor||Prat||Welcome to the Malibu Stakes. Best stakes finish in 2014 is a 4th in the Robert Lewis behind two in here. Just doesn't fit and doesn't belong. Falls in the realm of anything is possible but probably a casualty by the stretch run. Can't back at all.|
|10||30-1||Frensham||Guiterrez||Has two wins here at SA but unfortunately it was a MSW and Allowance. The latter being two back at 6 1/2 furlongs. I might consider as a low level stakes race but against these, appears way over his head. It would be a Miracle on West Huntington Drive.|
Malibu Stakes Breakdown and Betting
It is true that December is considered to be a slow time on the horse racing calendar but this year’s edition of the Malibu Stakes is bucking the trend. Shared Belief, Chitu and eight others are entering the starting gate for this year’s edition of the $300,000 Grade 1 race.
Shared Belief is the deserving favorite at 4-5 but Bob Baffert is bringing in a small army to try and dethrone him including Chitu, Indianapolis, Pimpernel and Midnight Hawk. Shared Belief is coming in off the first loss of his career. The gelding ran into all manner of trouble in the Breeders’ Cup Classic from the break (Bayern) and being squeezed approaching the turn.
Entering the Breeders’ Cup many believe Shared Belief was the best horse in the country but that armor has been damaged and how many believe that he is ripe to be picked off. Many point to coming back off a loss, the cut in distance from 10 to seven furlongs, his size, and other factors. The reality is that Shared Belief is the class of this field and it is not even close.
He will be challenged by the likes of Chitu and others up front but he does not need the lead. He can rate and still win, it has been done before. Heck, if you go back to 2013, the last time he raced at seven furlongs, he won the Hollywood Preview Stakes (G3) by 7 3/4 lengths. While not a Grade 3, he has proven the distance is fine. In my opinion, you have to toss out the Classic which means the reality is that this is Shared Belief’s race to lose.
Two horses intrigue me here if Shared Belief does not fire. Depending on how the race unfolds they just make take the Malibu Stakes. Chitu, while a sheik pick for many, is viable here. While none in the Damascus are of Shared Belief’s caliber, it does not take away from how impressive the gate-to-wire victory was over this Santa Anita track. Another point is that when the meet opens, baring weather, this track will be lightning fast like it tends to be at the beginning of a meet. Chitu is all about speed so that will only help him.
The other is Indianapolis. People look to the Breeders’ Cup Sprint and dismiss him off the 10th but to me it is more than that. He entered the Sprint off a very long layoff and looked sluggish at the jump. From there he was dead but leading up to that race he was improving. I will give you that the Sprint was a huge class jump but we never got to see what he had. If he breaks clean there is a chance, although minor, that he can get home at a price.
Below is how I would play $20 and $50 at the 2014 Mile. Keep in mind there is an eye to value here. As always, if you have to scrounge up to find $5 or $10 for the race I would pass and just watch. Pay the bills and enjoy the day. Don’t forget, this is supposed to be fun.
|$1 Exacta Box||2 with 3 with 8|
|$1 Trifecta Box||2 with 3 with 8|
|$2 Exacta Box||2 with 3 with 8|
|$1 Trifecta||2,3,8 with 2,3,7,8|
|$.10 Superfecta||2,8 with 1,2,3,7,8|