FESTIVE ON-TRACK CROWD OF 40,023 ON-HAND FOR SANTA ANITA’S WINTER MEET OPENER
ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 26, 2017)–Despite drawing the dreaded rail, trainer Michael McCarthy’s City of Light improved upon a one length advantage three furlongs from home to register an impressive two length win in Tuesday’s Grade I, $300,000 Malibu Stakes for three year olds at Santa Anita. Ridden for the first time by Drayden Van Dyke, the Kentucky-bred colt by Quality Road got seven furlongs in 1:21.21, which was 28/100s of a second faster than highly acclaimed 3-year-old filly Unique Bella got the same distance a race earlier in the Grade I La Brea Stakes.
With just a maiden win and three seconds to his credit, City of Light came off a second place finish in a first condition allowance Nov. 3 and was thus pitched very high in his first-ever stakes assignment. It mattered not however, as he ran the race of his life while beginning to validate the $710,000 his owners, Mr. and Mrs. W.K. Warren, paid for him as a Keeneland September yearling in 2015.
Off at 7-1 in a field of nine 3-year-olds, City of Light paid $17.00, $8.80 and $5.60.
With the win, he improved his overall record to 5-2-3-0 and with the winner’s share of $180,000, he increased his earnings to $250,600.
Second place finisher Edwards Going Left, who was part of an all-out scramble in behind the winner going into the far turn, finished well to prevail by one length over Favorable Outcome for the place. Off at 14-1, Edwards Going Left, who was handled by Tyler Baze, paid $11.40 and $6.20.
Second choice Favorable Outcome, who shipped in from New York and was ridden by Javier Castellano, was off at 7-2 and paid $3.80 to show.
A graded stakes winner for trainer Doug O’Neill three starts back in New York, Pavel, who was the 5-2 favorite under Mario Gutierrez, tried to rally from off the pace but flattened out late, finishing fourth, 2 ½ lengths behind the third place finisher.
Fractions on the race were 22.52, 44.82 and 1:08.89.
With a festive crowd of 40,023 on-hand for Santa Anita’s Winter Meet opener, day two will get underway with a 12:30 first post time on Friday. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m.