Top horses set for Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita

Top horses set for Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita

Malibu Stakes Preview

The Malibu Stakes takes place in December at Santa Anita and features three-year-old thoroughbreds of either gender. The distance of the race is 7 furlongs and is the first leg of Santa Anita’s Strub Series. 

The Strub Series consists of three open races. The Strub Stakes is the final leg of the Strub Series which is three open races for newly turned 4-year-old horses held over a few weeks at the start of the year. The Series consists of the Malibu Stakes, the San Fernando Stakes, at 1 1/16 miles, and the Strub Stakes.

Coming into this year’s race, there are likely to be horses that come into this on the back of the recent Breeders Cup. Prize money for this is lucrative at $300,000 and the Grade 1 race has seen some great winners over the years. 

Previous winners include Omaha Beach in 2019, McKinzie in 2018, City of Light in 2017 and the superb name Mind Your Biscuits in 2016. The greatest trainer has been Richard Mandella with 6 wins in the race and the latest came last year with Omaha Beach.

The jockey in form in this race is Mike E Smith who has won the race in the past two years and will likely be looking for a hat-trick this year. Working for two of the best trainers in the business in Smith and Baffert, you wouldn’t put it past him to win again.

Malibu Stakes 2020

Previewing the likely contenders for the race this year, Charlatan is one horse which may well feature, but there are some circumstances to look at after the horses’ first race at the track. Charlatan ran on the 2nd May at Oaklawn Park and won well in the Arkansas Derby. The Bob Baffert trained horse comfortably delivered a superb performance and blasted over the rivals in the race. However, the horse was later disqualified for a positive sample. Now after a long break, Charlatan is scheduled to run in the Malibu Stakes and put behind this issue as the Trainer also looks to be talked about for the right reasons.

Next up is Independence Hall who has run four times to date and won two of four starts. The most recent start was back in March 2020 at Gulfstream Park when Independence Hall was beaten by Tiz the Law in the Florida Derby. Tiz The Law was unstoppable that day and no other horse in the race had a chance.

On 8th Feb 2020 Independence Hall finished 2nd to Sole Valente in a Group 3 race at Tampa Bay Downs and looked to be going well in the race, but couldn’t finish the job off. As a two-year-old Independence Hall shone well with a win at Aqueduct and then before that winning in a maiden race. 

The next horse to mention in the preview to the Malibu Stakes 2020 is Nashville. Nashville won in October 2020 at Keeneland then before that repeated the success over the same six-furlong Dirt race at Keeneland in July beating some good horses including Wild Wes and Little Menace. Before that Nashville started the year in style winning a six and a half furlong race at Saratoga in February winning as odds on favourite in style.

Trained by Steven M. Asmussen, Nashville has won all three races in 2020 as a three-year-old and been very impressive. The horse is likely to be the strong favourite at the top sportsbooks again for The Malibu Stakes and the trainer will then be looking to open the four-year-old season by looking to compete in the Strub Series and winning the two other races will be a nice sum for everyone involved in the horse ownership.

Santa Anita is a different track to Keeneland so Nashville will need to get used to the different set up as he looks to deliver a fourth win in a row and end the year in style. There is no reason why this race shouldn’t go to plan.