Santa Anita opens on Monday with a solid nine race card that features four graded stakes including the $300,000 Malibu (G1) for three-year-olds and Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert sends out a trio of contenders in the 10-horse field.
Baffert has won the Malibu twice, taking the 2013 edition with Shakin It Up and in 2011 with The Factor.
His best shot on Monday could be with Ten Blessings, who makes his stakes debut. The colt earned a 106 Beyer Speed Figure beating first level optional claimers in his last outing. The colt is out of the multiple Garde 1 stakes winner Indian Blessing.
Mor Spirit (6-1) makes his first start for Baffert since running 10th in the Kentucky Derby (G1). The ridgling has landed in the exacta in all five trips over the main track here including winning the Robert B. Lewis (G3) back in February.
Baffert’s third runner is Jazzy Times (8-1), who was the beaten favorite last out against second level optional claimers after running a good second in his previous start in the Damascus at Santa Anita at seven furlongs.
Also on Monday’s card are the $200,000 Mathis Brothers Mile (G2), the $300,000 La Brea (G1) and the $100,000 San Simeon (G3).
Let’s head out to Santa Anita for Monday’s featured race of the day:
Santa Anita Race 8 The Malibu G1 (3:31 PT)
#4 Ten Blessings 3-1
#2 Mind Your Biscuits 5-2
#9 Awesome Banner 8-1
#7 Sharp Azteca 3-1
Analysis: Ten Blessings makes his stakes debut here for the Baffert barn that has won this race two times in the last five years, most recently with Shakin It Up in ’13. The colt is perfect in two trips over the main track here, breaking his maiden in his debut here and running huge last out in his third start against Alw-1 optional claimers at today’s seven-furlong distance. The colt has worked sharply since his last outing and sure has a nice pedigree, by Smart Strike out of $2.99 million earner Indian Blessing.
Mind Your Biscuits came up the inside with a good late run to finish third in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) and will be placed second due to a DQ of Masochistic, who tested positive for trace amounts of a steroid. He has lost his last three since taking the Amsterdam (G2) at the Spa four back but coming in here off back to back career tops.
Awesome Banner dueled for the early lead from the inside and finished strongly in the mud to win the Steel Valley Sprint at Mahoning Valley. He won back to back Florida Sire Stakes in his two previous starts at Gulfstream Park. This guy has landed in the exacta in 8 of 10 starts this year and owns solid early and mid pace numbers. Worth tossing in the mix here if he goes off near his 8-1 morning line.
WIN: #4 to win at 5-2 or better.
EX: 2,4 / 2,4,7,9
TRI: 2,4 / 2,4,7,9 / 2,4,5,7,9
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