Photo: Eclipse Sportswire - Alex Evers
It wasn't shocking that a Bob Baffert
trainee lived up to his name in taking the Grade I Malibu Stakes
Thursday on opening day at Santa Anita Park.
The stunning part was which Baffert
entrant that was.
Instead of favored Flashback channeling
his early-season form in his second start off a long layoff, Shakin It Up did just that, recording his first Grade I victory at a big
A son of Midnight Lute, Shakin It Up
captured the Grade III San Vicente at the Malibu route earlier in his
3-year-old year. However, he hadn't been seen since a fourth-place
finish going two turns at Sunland Park on March 24, and he was sent
away Thursday as the eighth choice in the 11-horse field.
However, Shakin It Up and jockey David Flores sat a dream trip well off a scorching pace. Distinctiv Passion
posted scorching early fractions of :21.66 and :43.33, and when the
field turned for home, he had nothing left.
Shakin It Up, who was nearly a dozen
lengths off the pace with three furlongs to go, swung wide for the
stretch run. Flores asked the colt for more through the stretch and
he kept responding, outfinishing fellow closers Central Banker and
Zeewat to win by a half-length.
The Michael Pegram homebred (also
co-owned by Dennis Cardoza) stopped the timer in 1:20.53 for the
seven-furlong distance. The Malibu was his third win in six lifetime
starts, and the first-place purse pushed his career earnings to more
The win continued a strong stretch for
Flores, who had recently been Steven Asmussen's top rider at Fair
Grounds. His afternoon in Arcadia was only a short stay, though, as
he is on his way to Singapore on a six-month contract.
Flashback, meanwhile, could only manage
a fourth-place finish while rating behind that hot pace under Joel
Rosario. The favored gray finished four lengths behind his
stablemate, and second-choice Bakken settled for fifth after shipping
in for Chad Brown.
Our Double Play, Heir of Storm,
Distinctiv Passion, Syndicated, Zee Bros, and Holy Lute completed the
order of finish.