GRADE I MALIBU & GRADE I LA BREA HEADLINE FOUR GRADED STAKES ON NINE-RACE PROGRAM
ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 21, 2016)–A close third in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Sprint Nov. 5, trainer Robert Falcone, Jr.’s Mind Your Biscuits heads a field of 10 sophomores going seven furlongs in Santa Anita’s Grade I, $300,000 Malibu Stakes on opening day, Monday. Beaten 1 ¼ lengths by Bob Baffert’s likely Eclipse Champion Sprinter Drefong, Mind Your Biscuits will have to contend with three Baffert runners in the Malibu–Santa Anita Derby runner-up Mor Spirit, up and comer Ten Blessings and Jazzy Times, who hopes to rebound off a disappointing third in a second condition allowance Dec. 4 at Del Mar.
MIND YOUR BISCUITS: Freshened since the Breeders’ Cup with a return to his Belmont Park base, this New York-bred colt by Posse appears “loaded” for his return to action as he worked a bullet half mile here on Sunday in 47.20, which was the best of 62 drills at the distance. Accordingly, he retains the services of top eastern-based jockey Joel Rosario. Owned by J Stables, Head of Plains Partners LLC, Summers and partners, “Biscuits” hopes to cap a year in which he’s compiled a 3-2-2 mark from eight starts. Unhurried early, he closed with a rush in the Breeders’ Cup and will hope to employ similar tactics on opening day.
MOR SPIRIT: Idle since well beaten in the Kentucky Derby, this Pennsylvania-bred ridgling by Eskendereya was second to eventual Preakness Stakes winner Exaggerator in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby on April 9. Prior to that, he was second in the Grade II San Felipe Stakes March 12 and was victorious in both the Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes on Feb. 6 and in the Grade I Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity on Dec. 19, 2015. Owned by Michael Lund Peterson, Mor Spirit has trained forwardly for his return, with his most recent move a shared bullet half mile this morning in 46.20, best of 40 at the distance. (He worked “head-up” in company with stablemate Jazzy Times). A sharp second in his debut going 6 ½ furlongs in September, 2015, Mor Spirit will try sprinting for only the second time in his nine-race career. Ridden in seven of his eight career starts by the recently sidelined Gary Stevens, he’ll be ridden for the first time on Monday by Mike Smith.
TEN BLESSINGS: An impressive 4 ¾ length allowance winner going seven furlongs here on Nov. 4, this Kentucky-bred colt by Smart Strike earned a Malibu best last-out Beyer Speed figure of 106. Owned and bred by longtime Baffert clients Hal and Patti Earnhardt, Ten Blessings has an abundance of early speed and appears primed for a top effort as he tries stakes competition for the first time. Out of the Indian Charlie mare Indian Blessing, Ten Blessings will be ridden back by Rafael Bejarano, who also guided him to a first-out maiden special weight win going six furlongs four starts back on Feb. 6 here at Santa Anita.
THE GRADE I MALIBU STAKES IN POST POSITION ORDER WITH JOCKEYS AND WEIGHTS
Race 8 of 9 Approximate post time 3:30 p.m. PDT
- Navy Hymn–Luis Contreras–119
- Mind Your Biscuits–Joel Rosario–121
- Semper Fortis–Mario Gutierrez–119
- Ten Blessings–Rafael Bejarano–119
- Jazzy Times–Martin Garcia–119
- Who’s Out–Flavien Prat–119
- Sharp Azteca–Edgard Zayas–121
- Mor Spirit–Mike Smith–121
- Awesome Banner–Julien Leparoux–121
- Horse Greedy–Jamie Theriot–119
First post time on opening day, Monday, Dec. 26, is at 12 noon. Admission gates open at 10 a.m. For opening day promotions and reservations, scratches, late changes and complete morning line information, please visit santaanita.com.