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2022 Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita Park

Taiba Heads The Field For the 2022 Malibu Stakes

The Bob Baffert-trained Taiba, the winner of this year’s Grade I Santa Anita Derby, heads a field of nine sophomores going seven furlongs in Santa Anita Park’s signature opening day feature on Monday, December 26, the Grade I, $300,000 Runhappy Malibu Stakes.

Most recently third in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic, finishing 8 ¾ lengths behind presumptive Horse of the Year Flightline, Taiba, who took the Grade I Pennsylvania Derby two starts back on Sept. 24, will be seeking to become the only 3-year-old colt or gelding to win three Grade I wins on the year and will thus try to make a late case for an Eclipse Award as top 3-year-old Male.

Entry Horse ML Odds Jockey Trainer
1 Forbidden Kingdom 3-1 Juan Hernandez
122 Lbs
Richard Mandella
2 Messier 6-1 John Velazquez
122 Lbs
Bob Baffert
3 Apprehend 8-1 Ramon Vazquez
120 Lbs
Peter Miller
4 Nakatomi 10-1 Tyler Gaffalione
120 Lbs
Wesley Ward
5 Hoist the Gold 12-1 Joel Rosario
120 Lbs
Dallas Stewart
6 Taiba 6-5 Mike Smith
124 Lbs
Bob Baffert
7 Perfect Flight 12-1 Ricardo Santana, Jr.
120 Lbs
Peter Miller
8 Strava 15-1 Flavien Prat
120 Lbs
Dallas Stewart
9 Straight No Chaser 20-1 Edwin Maldonado
120 Lbs
Dan Blacker

A $1.7 million purchase out of a 2-year-old in training sale in March of last year, Taiba is owned by Zedan Racing Stables, Inc. and will be ridden by Mike Smith, who has been aboard for his last five races, all of which have been around two turns.

A first-out winner here going six furlongs under John Velazquez on March 5, Taiba attended the early pace and won the Santa Anita Derby April 9 in only his second career start.

Baffert, who will also be sending out multiple graded stakes winner Messier, will be seeking his fifth win in the prestigious Malibu, which was taken last year by presumptive Horse of the Year Flightline.

Horse Racing Rebates

A winner of both the Grade II San Vicente Stakes and the Grade II San Felipe here earlier this year, Richard Mandella’s Forbidden Kingdom was subsequently dispatched as the even money favorite in the Grade I Runhappy Santa Anita Derby on April 9, but he went to the sidelines after finishing sixth and last.

Off at even money in his comeback race, the Grade II Santa Anita Sprint Championship Oct. 1, Forbidden Kingdom showed the way to the top of the lane but tired to finish fifth, beaten 3 ¾ lengths. Most recently third, beaten a half length in a six furlong allowance at Del Mar, Forbidden Kingdom will try to stop a three-game skid as he seeks his first Grade I win.

A chestnut colt by 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, Forbidden Kingdom is owned by MyRacehorse and Spendthrift Farm, LLC. Ridden by Juan Hernandez in all eight of his starts, he has three wins, a second and two thirds.

Trainer Wesley Ward looms dangerous in the Malibu with Kentucky shipper Nakatomi, who comes off a big allowance win going 6 ½ furlongs at Keeneland Nov. 5. A chestnut gelding by Firing Line, Nakatomi will be ridden back by Tyler Gaffalione. Owned by Bottle Rocket Stable, Qatar Racing Limited and Marc Detampel, Nakatomi, who is 8-4-1-1 overall, will be trying seven panels for the first time.

With Flavien Prat climbing aboard for the first time, the Dallas Stewart-trained Strava also rates a big chance on Monday shipping in from New Orleans. A big 6 ½ length allowance winner going a one-turn mile in the Churchill Downs slop Nov. 27, Strava, who was off the board in his only graded stakes try this year, earned a lofty 98 Beyer Speed Figure on Nov. 27 and looks to be a now commodity.

Owned by WinStar Farm, LLC, Siena Farm, LLC and former two-time NCAA Division Champion and Hall of Fame basketball coach Denny Crum, Strava was a first-out winner going six furlongs at age two and is 9-3-1-3 overall.

Special early first post time for an 11-race card that includes six graded stakes on opening day is at 11 a.m., with admission gates opening at 9 a.m. – US Legal online horse wagering is a great way to bet horse racing at Santa Anita Park. Available to customers across the United States, OTB features both Thoroughbred and Standardbred racing from major racing venues in the US as well as top international racing from Europe, Japan, Australia and Hong Kong.

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