Bob Baffert has four of the 10 horses entered in the Grade I Malibu Stakes at seven furlongs on opening day, Friday, in which 2013 male 2-year-old champion Shared Belief is the 4-5 morning line favorite.
Baffert has already felt the sting of Shared Belief, in the Grade I Awesome Again Stakes Sept. 27, when the Candy Ride gelding trained by Jerry Hollendorfer hung a neck defeat on the Baffert-trained Fed Biz despite being carried wide by another Baffert runner, Sky Kingdom.
Baffert gained major revenge when his Bayern won the Breeders’ Cup Classic, in which Shared Belief lost any reasonable chance of winning when he was roughed at the start.
Asked what advice he would give to his quartet of riders in the Malibu, Baffert said: “I don’t tell them anything. They’re all speed horses, though. I’m glad I didn’t draw next to Shared Belief. I wouldn’t want to bother him.”
Patrick Biancone, who sends out 20-1 morning line chance Diamond Bachelor in the Malibu, is hoping the French Connection produces winning karma.
“He’s training well,” said Biancone, like Diamond Bachelor’s rider, Flavian Prat, a native of France. “Flavian did well when he rode here in the past. We’re looking for a good showing.”
The field for the Malibu: Conquest Two Step, Joe Talamo, 15-1; Chitu, Joel Rosario, 4-1; Indianapolis, Gary Stevens, 6-1; Rprettyboyfloyd, Tyler Baze, 30-1; Pimpernel, Martin Garcia, 10-1; Midnight Hawk, Victor Espinoza, 6-1; Tamarando, Julien Leparoux, 12-1; Shared Belief, Mike Smith, 4-5; Diamond Bachelor, Flavian Prat, 20-1; and Frensham, Mario Gutierrez, 30-1.
Source: Santa Anita Park