Malibu Pier shrugged off a threat from Lilly Fa Pootz to win Saturday's
$150,000 Santa Ana Stakes at Santa Anita, a race in which her principal
rival, Turning Top, slipped severely on the turn.
Malibu Pier ($6) won the Grade 2 race over 1 1/8 miles on turf by a
length over Turning Top in 1:48.05. Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Malibu
Pier dueled with Lilly Fa Pootz through early fractions of 23.28 and
46.53 seconds, dropped back by 1 1/2 lengths on the turn and then
rallied on the outside of Lilly Fa Pootz to win the first stakes of her
Bejarano's tactics to take Malibu Pier off the pace did not concern
trainer Carla Gaines, who felt the 4-year-old filly was racing within
herself throughout the race.
"She wasn't rank and he wasn't grabbing her," Gaines said of Bejarano. "He just gave her a breather on the turn."