Updated on 12/13/2010 1:54PM

Caracortado seems in top shape for Malibu

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Barbara D. Livingston
Trainer Mike Machowsky is optimistic Caracortado can collect a Grade 1 victory in the Dec. 26 Malibu at Santa Anita.

In the month since Caracortado won an optional claimer on turf at Hollywood Park in his first start since May, the gelding has left trainer and co-owner Mike Machowsky delighted with his training.

Machowsky is hoping those morning exercises can translate to a coveted Grade 1 win in the $250,000 Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita on Dec. 26. The Malibu Stakes is run over seven furlongs on Santa Anita’s new clay and sand main track, which was installed in late October and November.

Caracortado has been based with Machowsky’s stable at Santa Anita since last Sunday and will have his first workout over the new surface this weekend.

“If he trains as well as he did going into his last race on this track, the Malibu is number one on the agenda,” Machowsky said. “He’s galloped over it really well. Horses bounce over it. It seems like a kind track.”

A winner of 6 of 9 starts and $296,520, Caracortado won two stakes on Santa Anita’s synthetic main track last year, including the Grade 2 Robert Lewis Stakes over 1 1/16 miles last February. He was later a troubled fourth in the Santa Anita Derby and seventh in the Preakness Stakes, his only other appearances in a Grade 1.

In his comeback on Nov. 11, Caracortado won his turf debut, closing from sixth to win a six-furlong race by 1 3/4 lengths. Since then, he has worked three times, including six furlongs in 1:12.60 at Hollywood Park last Sunday, going a final quarter-mile in 22.60 seconds, Machowsky said.

In the Malibu, Caracortado is expected to face a strong field, including Twirling Candy, the winner of the Grade 2 Del Mar Derby in September; Thiskyhasnolimit, a three-time stakes winner who was seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile last month; Noble’s Promise and Don Tito, who were first and third in the Jimmy V Stakes; and two runners trained by Bob Baffert – Alcindor and Indian Firewater.