I think today’s $300,000 Grade 1 Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita could be won by any one of five of the 13 horses. Here’s who I like in order of preference:
The 3-year-old son of Candy Ride just missed by a neck against 13 older rivals in the Grade 2 Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs on Nov. 27. Victor Espinoza sticks with him and the colt has the tactical speed from the rail to give trainer Bob Baffert his first Malibu victory.
2. Mythical Power
Baffert’s second colt in the race has a big shot off his 7 1/2-length score in the Lone Star Derby on May 9. He’s been off nearly eight months since that victory, but he too has the type of tactical speed that will be dangerous here and he gets the services of Joel Rosario. Baffert wins at a 20 percent clip with horses who’ve been away for six or more months.
3. M One Rifle
This guy lost by only a nose to Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Dancing in Silks in the Cal Cup Sprint and he could be tough in this spot. Trainer Bruce Headley knows his sprinters, and Mike Smith stays aboard. He should be in front early and might prove tough to collar.
4. Papa Clem
The Smart Strike colt hasn’t won since his Arkansas Derby victory on April 11 at Oaklawn Park, but he’s got the talent to win this, having run second to Pioneerof the Nile in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita in February. Use him in exotics.
5. Supreme Summit
Finished a strong second to M One Rifle at Del Mar and could flash dangerous early speed in this seven-furlong event. Rafael Bejarano jumps off to stick with the unbeaten Hunch, but Supreme Summit is more seasoned and could be a factor here.
Good luck today!!