Race of the Week 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Toasting with Andrew Champagne

Shakin It Up Rocks the Malibu

Shakin It Up Malibu 615 X 400
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 price.

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 than $367,000.

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.


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Older Comments about Shakin It Up Rocks the Malibu...

I think I am really happy that I had 20 to win on Shakin It Up......
I didn't post the photo, but I never drew the conclusion that Flores was hitting the other horse. If you look at his elbow, Flores actually seems to have his arm pointed forward, and it could very well be the wind that's bending the whip back.
Two dirt covered horses at the wire, the Santa Anita tracks seems to be getting less speed crazy each year. I hope it continues all year.
Yes, why is the jockey striking the other horse? If it's not the case, why show this photo?
Naughtiness right there
What's going on with the whip in the photo above? Is that an optical illusion or did Flores almost hit the other horse?

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Meet Andrew Champagne


A native of upstate New York and a graduate of Ithaca College, Andrew Champagne fell in love with horse racing at a very early age on summer trips to Saratoga. His turf writing credits include time spent as a sportswriter, weekly columnist, and handicapper at The Saratogian, a summer working for The Saratoga Special, and "field research" at OTB facilities in Saratoga Springs and his hometown of Kingston. He also spent two years in the athletic communications office at Siena College, and interned with NBC Olympics at the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.

Andrew moved to Pasadena, Calif., in October of 2013, and now serves as an Associate Producer in HRTV's Digital Media department and Horse Racing Nation's Southern California writer. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewChampagne, and email him at andrewdchampagne@gmail.com.

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