Santa Anita kicks off on Wednesday and there is an outstanding betting card on tap for Opening Day highlighted by a full field going in the $300,000 Malibu (G1) at seven furlongs on the main track.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert will send out the 7-2 morning line favorite McKinzie, who is looking to bounce back off his dud in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) where he faded to finish 31 lengths back of the winner Accelerate.
Baffert will be the busiest guy in the paddock, also saddling San Vincente (G2) runner up Nero (12-1), Los Alamitos Derby (G3) third place finisher Ax Man (5-1) and Affirmed (G3) third place finisher Solomini (10-1), the runner up in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1).
Baffert has Super Sol (20-1) sitting on the also-eligible list as well.
Five Stakes on Opening Day
The Malibu is supported by four other stakes on the opening day card at Santa Anita, three of them graded including the $300,00 La Brea (G1) for two-year-old fillies that drew a field of nine.
The Baffert trained Dream Tree is the 8-5 morning lien favorite for the La Brea. The filly is perfect in five starts, winning the Prioress (G2) at Saratoga on Sept. 2 in her last outing.
The $200,000 Mathis Brothers Mile (G2) drew a field of 11 led by the Jeff Mullins trained River Boyne (8-5), runner up in the Hollywood Derby (G1) in his last start on Dec. 1 at Del Mar.
The $300,000 San Antonio (G2) is led by Native Diver (G3) winner Battle of Midway (9-5), last year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner and Dabster (5-2) who was beaten just a neck in the Native Diver.
The stakes action on Wednesday starts with the $75,000 Lady Shamrock, a one-mile turf event for three-year-old fillies that drew a field of eight.
Let’s head out to Santa Anita for Wednesday’s featured race of the day:
Santa Anita Race 9 The Malibu G1 Post time 4:00 PT
7 Seven Trumpets 12-1
13 McKinzie 7-2
6 Axelrod 10-1
3 Copper Bullet 6-1
The Dale Romans trainee prompted the early pace and faded to finish a well beaten eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) last out at Churchill Downs. He came into that race with two solid efforts sprinting, a third in the Gallant Bob (G3) after getting off a beat slow and a second three back in the Alan Jerkens (G1) at the Spa going seven furlongs.
In that effort he was off a step slow and came with a good late rally, 1 ¼ lengths behind Promises Fulfilled, who exited that race to win the Phoenix (G2) at Keeneland and then run fourth in the Dirt Mile. His third in the Jerkens was his lone go at seven furlongs and he is better than he showed last out. Looking for him to rebound in this spot, he should get some pace to run at and is going to be a generous price in a wide-open race.
This colt is one of five in here entered by Baffert, who won this race in 2011 and 2013. The colt pressed the early pace and faltered badly in a 12th place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at 4-1. He had won the Pennsylvania Derby (G1) two back at nine furlongs off a six-month layoff. His lone start around one turn came in his debut where he drew off to win by 5 ½ lengths at seven furlongs. The colt has worked sharply since the Classic and his numbers two and three back going long stand out. The main knock is going to be the price, which could end up on the light side.
Trained by Michael McCarthy, he was in over his head in the Classic where he checked in ninth at 51-1 and has done his best running around two turns. However, it looks as if he enough tactical speed to handle the cut back to seven furlongs. He ran a good second to McKinzie in the Pennsylvania Derby two back at 10-1 and came into that race off back to back wins in the Indiana Derby (G3) and Smarty Jones (G3). Johnny V picks up the call and it appears this guy is going to be a decent price here.
WIN: Seven Trumpets to win at 6-1 or better.
EXACTA: 7,13 / 3,6,7,13
TRIFECTA: 7,13 / 3,6,7,13 / 3,6,7,8,13