12/26/2008 1:00AM

Bob Black Jack runs off with Malibu


ARCADIA, Calif.-Bob Black Jack's best asset - his devastating speed - helped the colt record his first Grade 1 win in Friday's $250,000 Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita. There can be no doubting the quality of the field. The second- through fourth-place finishers are also Grade 1 winners - Into Mischief, Georgie Boy and Colonel John.

Allowed to set his own pace of 22.45 and 44.95 seconds, Bob Black Jack led throughout the seven-furlong Malibu, winning by 2 1/4 lengths over Into Mischief, the 2-1 favorite. Bob Black Jack ($12) was timed in 1:20.20 on the Pro-Ride under jockey David Flores.

“The race set up perfectly,” Flores said. “No one else had the speed to go with him. He was flying in the last part of the race. I could feel it.”

The victory was Bob Black Jack's first since he set a six-furlong world record of 1:06.53 in the Sunshine Millions Dash here last January. He lost his next four starts, including a second in the Santa Anita Derby, a 16th in the Kentucky Derby and a fifth in the Vernon Underwood Stakes at Hollywood Park on Nov. 22 after a layoff of more than six months.

“He needed the race last time,” Flores said.

Owned by Jeff Harmon and Tim Kasparoff and trained by Jim Kasparoff, Bob Black Jack has won 4 of 10 starts and $594,925. The Malibu was his first graded stakes win and third stakes win of his career.

Jim Kasparoff said that Bob Black Jack will be pointed for the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Sprint for California-breds and Florida-breds here on Jan. 24.

Into Mischief, the winner of the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity in December 2007, is expected to be retired to stud in Kentucky in 2009.

Gio Ponti takes to synthetic

Gio Ponti won his synthetic track debut in Friday's $100,000 Sir Beaufort Stakes, a victory likely to redefine the next few months of his career.

Gio Ponti will be pointed for the $250,000 Strub Stakes over 1 1/8 miles for 4-year-olds on the synthetic main track on Feb. 7, and not a turf race.

Gio Ponti had run exclusively on turf prior to the Sir Beaufort, which was scheduled for turf but moved to the main track because of rain on Wednesday and Thursday.

Ridden by Garrett Gomez, Gio Ponti ($4.60) ran a mile in 1:34.92, finishing 1 1/2 lengths in front of Medjool. El Gato Malo was third in the field of nine 3-year-olds.

Owned by Castleton Lyons and trained by Christophe Clement, Gio Ponti has won 4 of 9 starts and $820,800. Four of his wins have come in stakes, including the Grade 2 Virginia Derby in July.