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HRN Original Blog:
Zipse At The Track

At 30-1, I’m giving a long look to Luckarack in the Malibu

As the racing world shifts seamlessly from Santa Claus to Santa Anita, I’m looking for as big a day from the Arcadia oval as my three-year-old daughter enjoyed yesterday via Kris Kringle. With four stakes races today highlighting the opening day card at Santa Anita, there should be plenty of excitement for everyone.

In the Grade 2 Sir Beaufort Stakes, the colt I’ve predicted will become a champion turf horse in 2012, Mr. Commons, takes on an excellent field of 3-year-olds that includes the streaking Ultimate Eagle. The winner of four straight grass races, including the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby, should have some company on the front end though from the multiple stakes winner, Comma to the Top, setting things up nicely for my choice. Impressive winner of the Oceanside Stakes, Mr. Commons looks to get back to his winning ways after an awful trip that saw him finish fifth, beaten 4 1/2 lengths, in the Breeders’ Cup Mile last out.

Two other stakes on the big card see California bred juveniles going seven furlongs for a $100,000 purse. In the filly division of the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes, it will be interesting to see the third lifetime start of Ismene. The daughter of Tribal Rule has been most impressive in winning her first two starts, and in her second race she got the best of the highly regarded Sister Moon in the Anokia Stakes. Meanwhile, in the male division, Stoney Fleece looks to go favored off his win in the Grade 3 Generous Stakes last out. His top competition, in his return to dirt, includes Passing Game and Motown Man in the seven-furlong race.

As interesting as those races may be, it will be the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes that takes center stage on opening day. The always highly regarded The Factor will be the one to beat coming off a tiring eighth place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, but with a field that includes a number of promising and lightly raced soon to be four-year-olds, his job will not be easy coming from the 11-hole. Chief among his challengers include stablemates Smash and Hoorayforhollywood, as well as, Rothko and Wine Police from the Steve Asmussen barn, and the Ron Ellis conditioned, Centralinteligence. While the aforementioned half dozen all look tough, I have actually landed on a rank outsider.

Listed at 30-1 on the morning line, I believe Luckarack has a legitimate shot to light up the Santa Anita tote board. A winner of seven races lifetime, which is quite a bit more than anyone else in the field, the Doug O’Neil trained son of Lucky Pulpit demonstrated his sharpness with a 3 ¾ length win in a six furlong optional claimer last out at Hollywood Park. Looking at his past performances, it is clear that this is a colt that is best when he can relax early than make a big run at sprinting distances. The Malibu should set up perfectly for him. The expected contentious and fast pace should soften up the early leaders, while the seven furlong distance should give every opportunity for the stretch runners to make their presence felt in the late stages. 

The question remains if Luckarack is good enough for this bunch, but he has already beaten good horses like Bench Points and CJ Russell in the past, so if I am right, look for the Malibu payouts to be big balloons!



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Older Comments about At 30-1, I’m giving a long look to Luckarack in the Malibu...

Yeah, he menaced early in the lane, and just missed the head bob for 3rd at 40-1, but the Malibu was all about the winner. Huge effort by The Factor. One race earlier, how about Mr. Commons? Liking my early selection for 2012 Turf Champ more and more!
Thought he might do it there for a second, but The Factor was just way too good.
Why not? 30-1 sounds pretty good to me, too!
I like Hoorayforhollywood a little cutting back in distance from that route in the Delta Jackpot, but I'll throw Luckarack in my 10-cent supers just for you!

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

As Editor of Horse Racing Nation, Brian authors a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and adds his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves on the Board of Directors of The Exceller Fund. Brian also consults for leading contest site Derby Wars, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 
A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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