Horse Racing Betting Report- 2016 Malibu Stakes

Horse Drefong image

David Schwab

Saturday, December 24, 2016 2:27 PM GMT

The day after Christmas at famed Santa Anita Park offers up some major graded stakes action for horse bettors looking for one last big score in 2016. The highlight of next Monday’s race card at Santa Anita is the $300,000 Malibu Stakes for some of the top three-year-old sprinters in the nation. 

Every probable entry in the field for this year’s Malibu Stakes has already made a name for themselves as a three-year-old this season, but the following three horses are at the top of my list to finish in the money one last time in 2016.

 

2016 Malibu Stakes- Santa Anita Park

The Malibu Stakes is a Grade 1 race for three-year-old thoroughbreds and the total price purse for this year’s event has been set at $300,000. This race will be contested on the dirt track at Santa Anita over a distance of seven furlongs.

The current list of probable entries for Monday’s main event at Santa Anita is not that big, but it is deep with talent. The three-year-old at the top of my list to win would be Drefong, who is one of two expected entries in this race trained by Bob Baffert. This Kentucky-bred colt comes into this race with some lofty credentials after winning this year’s Breeders’ Cup Sprint at this same track on Nov. 5 over the likes of Mind Your Biscuits and AP Indian. He also placed first in the Grade 1 King Bishop Stakes at Saratoga in late August over a distance of seven furlongs.

After starting his racing career with a modest fifth-place run in a Maiden Special Weight race at Santa Anita as a juvenile, Drefong has gone on to win the next five events he has been entered in. He comes into this race ranked No. 26 by Horse Racing Nation with a rating of 8.43.

Look for trainer Jorge Navarro’s Sharp Azteca to provide some stiff competition for this year’s Malibu Stakes title. This three-year-old Kentucky-bred colt is ranked 32nd by HRN with a solid 8.26 rating. He has not raced since early August after placing second in the Super Derby Prelude at Louisiana Downs over a distance of 1 1/16 miles. His biggest victory this season was in the Grade 1 Pat Day Mile at Churchill Downs following a pair of wins in two MSW events leading up that that race.

A pedigree of Freud with a progeny that can be traced back to Storm Bird, this horse has finished in the money in five of seven career starts.

When it comes to the Show position to round out a winning trifecta pick for this Monday’s Malibu Stakes, I would go with trainer Mark Casse’s Awesome Banner. This three-year-old Florida-bred colt may not have as impressive a resume as the first two horses on my list, but he has been able to finish in the money in six of his eight careers starts. He got things going in the right direction early this season at Gulfstream Park with victories in the Grade 3 Hutcheson Stakes at six furlongs and in the Grade 2 Swale Stakes at a distance of seven furlongs.

More recently, he posted a pair of second-place runs at Gulfstream in the Grade 3 Carry Back Stakes and the Florida Sire Unbridled on Aug. 6. All of his strongest efforts have come at a distance of six to seven furlongs.

 

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