11/30/2011 6:34PM

Hollywood: Smash punches ticket to Malibu

Shigeki Kikkawa
Smash's comeback victory has him headed to the opening-day feature at Santa Anita

INGLEWOOD, Calif. - The comeback victory by Smash in the third race on Sunday should have him on target for the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes for 3-year-olds on Santa Anita’s opening day Dec. 26, trainer Bob Baffert said.

“That’s what we’re pointing for,” Baffert said after Smash ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:14.79 to defeat a tenacious Centralinteligence, who also is expected to point to the seven-furlong Malibu after losing to Smash by a half-length.

Smash is owned by Kaleem Shah, whose good sprinter Irrefutable died after the Underwood on Saturday.

“Mike,” Baffert said, referring to jockey Mike Smith, “thought at first he might be having heat stroke. We got the saddle off him and he was a little wobbly. He started to walk off, and he just dropped.”

Smash is named for the fictional character Brian “Smash” Williams, a running back on the television show “Friday Night Lights.”

“He’s short, but he’s stout,” Baffert said of the equine Smash. “Like the running back, he’s little and he can fly.”

Another Malibu possibility is Casper’s Touch, who recently joined trainer Mike Mitchell’s barn as part of a group of horses sent by owner Dennis Narlinger. Mitchell and Narlinger teamed to win the Underwood with the 4-year-old gelding Pacific Ocean.

◗ Charm the Maker, preparing for the Grade 1 Hollywood Starlet on Dec. 10, worked six furlongs in 1:11.60 on Wednesday morning at Santa Anita for trainer Ron McAnally. The time equaled the best of 18 at the distance Wednesday. Charm the Maker won the Sharp Cat Stakes in her last start, and before that was third in the Oak Leaf Stakes.

◗ Liaison, the winner of the Real Quiet Stakes last time out, worked six furlongs in 1:12.60 at Santa Anita for Baffert in preparation for the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity on Dec. 17.