01/06/2011 3:17PM

Busanda's distance may be ideal for Moonlit Malibu


OZONE PARK, N.Y. – Though Moonlit Malibu is facing winners and trying two turns for the first time in Saturday’s $65,000 Busanda Stakes at Aqueduct, she has shown enough promise where she just may be the right one in the seemingly wide-open race for 3-year-old fillies.

Five of the seven horses entered for the Busanda are coming off wins in their most recent starts, including Queen’s Harbor, who won the East View for New York-bred fillies over the inner track on Dec. 5.

Though she sprinted four times in her career, Moonlit Malibu, as a daughter of Malibu Moon out of a Sky Classic mare, certainly has the pedigree to suggest she would thrive running a route of ground. The Busanda is run at a mile and 70 yards around two turns.

“That’s what we’re thinking,’’ said Mike Trombetta, who trains Moonlit Malibu for the Pons family’s Country Life Farm based in Maryland. “She’s got speed but she always seems to be running hard at the end.’’

In her last start, Moonlit Malibu battled between horses and was seemingly overtaken by the first-time starter Marion Ravenwood, a daughter of A.P. Indy trained by Graham Motion. But Moonlit Malibu came back to win by three-quarters of a length. It was 18 lengths back to the third-place finisher.

“We liked her from the get-go, it took her a start or two to get a hang of things,’’ Trombetta said. “She just seems to be maturing a little.’’

Cornelio Velasquez rides Moonlit Malibu from post 4.

Dance Quietly, a half-sister to 2005 Horse of the Year Saint Liam, comes off a neck maiden win at Monmouth Park on Nov. 10. She has run well twice around two turns and is likely to be the post-time as well as sentimental favorite. She is the first starter for owner/breeder Edward P. Evans Stable since his death on Dec. 31.

Ramon Dominguez rides Dance Quietly, trained by Todd Pletcher, from post 2.

In winning the East View by 4 1/2 lengths over the inner track, Queen’s Harbor was able to control the pace from the rail. She has the rail again on Saturday, but could be hard-pressed to get the lead by herself under Jose Valdivia Jr.

Daring Reality, a daughter of Include, is 2 for 2 around two turns, winning a maiden race by 4 1/4 lengths at Parx Racing on Nov. 16 and a first-level allowance race by three lengths at Penn National on Dec. 17.

Bandola, Lake Song, and Aba Dabbler complete the field.