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Flashback Meets Bakken in Malibu

Santa Anita’s traditional opening day headliner, the Grade I, $300,000 Malibu Stakes for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs, attracted a field of 12 and will be headed by the Bob Baffert-trained Flashback, who was the beaten favorite in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby in April and was considered one of the nation’s top Kentucky Derby prospects.  Idle from his second place finish in the Santa Anita Derby April 6 until running second as the favorite in the $100,000 Damascus Stakes Nov. 2, the grey colt by Tapit appears primed for a top effort on Thursday.

Joining Flashback as one of the primary Malibu contenders is the up and coming Bakken, who was an ultra-impressive gate to wire winner going six furlongs at Belmont Park on Oct. 13 and again on Nov. 23 at Aqueduct—both times as the favorite.  Trained by Chad Brown, Bakken, a colt by Distorted Humor, was not headed in either win and could be the speed of the Malibu field along with the Jeff Bonde-conditioned Distinctiv Passion.

Owned by Gary and Mary West, Flashback thrust himself into the national spotlight with a 6 ¼  length score in only his second start, the Grade II, 1 1/16 miles Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita on Feb. 2.  He has had a steady string of solid works at Santa Anita since his disappointing effort in the Damascus, with his most recent drill a rapid six furlongs from the gate in 1:11.40 on Dec. 16.

Flashback, who will be ridden for the first time by Joel Rosario, has two wins and a three seconds from five starts and $377,000 in earnings.

Bakken, who has won his two New York starts by a combined 8 ¾ lengths for owners Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren Jr., was sent to Palm Meadows training center in South Florida following his Nov. 23 win and has three works there, the most recent a half mile in 49.25 on Dec. 20.

Bakken has bagged $91,200 in earnings from his two wins.

Owned by Edward Brown, Jr., Philip Lebherz and Alan Klein, Distinctiv Passion ran a huge third in the Grade I Santa Anita Sprint Championship on Oct. 5, cutting out blistering splits of 21.40, 43.60 and 55.80.  Well seasoned, Distinctive Passion has four wins and four thirds from nine starts and could likely be sent from the gate again by jockey Edwin Maldonado.  Distinctive passion has $221,930 in earnings and has been in steady training at Santa Anita with his most recent work a half mile in 46.20 this morning.


Resurgent Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens, who returned to riding earlier this year following a seven-year retirement, capped a dream-come-true 2013 by winning both the Breeders’ Cup Distaff and Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 1 & 2,.  The Caldwell, Idaho native will be riding up and coming Heir of Storm in the Malibu for trainer Peter Miller.

In his first start for Miller on Nov. 1 at Santa Anita, Heir of Storm annihilated 10 rivals at odds of 37-1, winning a seven furlong allowance gate to wire by 4 ½ lengths while earning a career-best Beyer Speed figure of 102.  While the main track was favoring front runners, the Florida-bred by Wildcat Heir turned in a vastly improved effort and could be dangerous.  Owned by Wachtel Stable or Friedman, Heir of Storm has two wins from seven starts and earnings of $81,750.


The complete field for the Malibu, which will be run as the eighth race on a nine-race card, with jockeys and weights in post position order:  Syndicated, Victor Espinoza, 118; Shakin It Up, David Flores, 118; Heir of Storm, Gary Stevens, 118; Flashback, Joel Rosario, 118; Zeewat, Rafael Bejarano, 118; Demonic, Corey Nakatani, 118; Central Banker, Joe Talamo, 118; Holy Lute, Mike Smith, 118; Zee Bros, Martin Garcia, 118; Bakken, Javier Castellano, 118; Distinctiv Passion, Edwin Maldonado, 118 and Our Double Play, Francisco Torres, 123.

 

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Older Comments about Flashback Meets Bakken in Malibu ...

Flashback looks prime for best effort with a prep but depending on ML Odds...looking at the other grey Holy Lute.

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