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Blanc has history with Malibu Pier

Hollywood Park logo.
Photo: Hollywood Park

French-born jockey Brice Blanc practically salivated at the chance to ride Spendthrift Farm’s Malibu Pier in her last start in the Santa Barbara Handicap, which she won at Santa Anita last month.

Blanc had ridden the filly’s dam, the French-bred Blue Moon, to victory in the 2002 Buena Vista Handicap at Santa Anita for owner B. Wayne Hughes, and found the similarities of mother and daughter striking.

“They looked like twins,” said Blanc Sunday as he prepared to ride the 4-year-old filly again in the $250,000 Grade I Gamely Stakes Monday. “I have the pictures of both winning, and their stride, everything looks just alike.

“I went to Spendthrift Farm last year to visit Blue Moon,” added Blanc. “She had another foal, a sister to Malibu Pier, who looks just like her too.”

Trainer A.C. Avila hopes to spring an upset in the Gamely with Celtic Princess, a 7-year-old Brazilian-bred mare who will be making her first start since winning her California debut in an optional claimer on the Santa Anita turf December 30.

“She came out of the race with a tibia fracture,” explained Avila of the time off. “But she’s been training great.’’




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