TRADITIONAL OPENING DAY FEATURE ONE OF FOUR GRADED STAKES ON NINE-RACE PROGRAM
ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 21, 2017)–Eastern invaders Favorable Outcome and C Z Rocket head a wide-open field of nine sophomores in Santa Anita’s Grade I, $300,000 Malibu Stakes on Tuesday, opening day of the track’s traditional Winter Meet.
Trained by Chad Brown and based in New York, Favorable Outcome comes off a scintillating neck victory in 6 ½ furlong allowance on Nov. 26–a race in which he earned a career top and Malibu best last-out Beyer Speed figure of 104.
Undefeated in three starts at Saratoga, Keeneland and Churchill Downs, Florida-bred C Z Rocket has a bullet half mile of 47.60 seconds locally on Dec. 13 for trainer Al Stall, Jr., and he’ll be trying stakes competition for the first time in the Malibu.
The primary Malibu contenders are as follows:
Owner: Klaravich Stables, Inc. and William H. Lawrence Trainer: Chad C. Brown
A winner of Gulfstream Park’s Grade II Swale Stakes going seven furlongs three starts back on Feb. 4, this Kentucky-bred colt by Flatter comes off a hard fought neck victory in a second condition allowance going 6 ½ furlongs on Nov. 26 at Aqueduct and has remained in training at Belmont Park. With four-time Eclipse Award Champ Javier Castellano in to ride, Favorable Outcome seeks his first Grade I victory on Tuesday.
C Z Rocket:
Owner: Frank Fletcher Racing Operations Inc. Trainer: Albert Stall, Jr.
A first-out maiden winner going 6 ½ furlongs at Saratoga Sept. 1, C Z Rocket rallied from off the pace to win a first condition allowance going seven furlongs by 2 ½ lengths on Oct. 11 at Keeneland. He then ventured to Churchill Downs, where he stepped up to a third-level allowance going a one turn mile, winning by two lengths as the even money favorite. An $800,000 Ocala 2-year-old in training sale purchase in 2016, C Z Rocket has a tractable style and undeniable talent, which should serve him well in his initial stakes engagement Tuesday.
Owner: Donegal Racing Trainer: Bob Baffert
A Kentucky-bred colt by Pioneerof the Nile, he comes off a good second going a mile and one eighth in the Grade III Native Diver Stakes Nov. 25 and will cut back in distance off of five consecutive routes for Baffert. A first-out maiden winner going six furlongs in his only start at age 2, Irish Freedom will hope to be rallying from off the pace under “Big Money” Mike Smith.
Owner: Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum Trainer: Bob Baffert
Disqualified from victory in his first start here going seven furlongs on opening day a year ago, this $1 million 2-year-old in training sale purchase has finished first in all three of his career starts, including a game 1 ½ length win in a seven furlong allowance at Del Mar on Nov. 3. With Flavien Prat set to ride him back, this Kentucky-bred son of Curlin lends considerable depth to the Malibu lineup in his first stakes assignment.
City of Light:
Owner: Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren, Jr. Trainer: Michael McCarthy
Although he has but a maiden win to his credit from four starts, this $710,000 Keeneland September yearling by Quality Road has three seconds to his credit, including his most recent start, where he was beaten 1 ½ lengths as the 6-5 favorite going seven furlongs by Baffert’s Dabster on Nov. 3 at Del Mar. Favored in three out of his four races, City of Light will be ridden for the fifth consecutive time by Gary Stevens in what will be his first stakes engagement.
THE GRADE I MALIBU STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 8 of 9 Approximate post time 3:30 p.m. PT
1. City of Light–Drayden Van Dyke–120
2. Edwards Going Left–Tyler Baze–120
3. Irish Freedom–Mike Smith–120
4. Favorable Outcome–Javier Castellano–122
5. The Street Fighter–Edwin Maldonado–120
6. Pavel–Mario Gutierrez–122
7. Heartwood–Hector Rosario, Jr.–120
8. Dabster–Flavien Prat–120
9. C Z Rocket–Jose Lezcano–120
Special early first post time on Tuesday is at 12 noon. Admission gates will open at 10 a.m. For more information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.