12/28/2009 1:00AM

Malibu Stakes Preview


Saturday, December 26, 2009
Santa Anita - Race 9
7 Furlongs (Pro-Ride)
Malibu Stakes (Grade 1)
Purse $300,000

MISREMEMBERED was extremely game when second in the Grade 2 Clark Handicap.  Racing three to four wide every step of the way after breaking from post 12, Misremembered made the lead turning for home, and dug in gamely during the final eighth of a mile.  That was a strong cast he faced over the Churchill Downs dirt course as the winner, Blame, has been on quite the roll, and some classy graded winners like Einstein, Bullsbay, and Macho Again finished behind Misremembered.  The main concern for the Bob Baffert-trained Misremembered is the distance.  Misremembered has never started in a sprint race and he may find himself well back when the real running begins.  This will not be an easy spot for him but he may be the best horse.  
Baffert also has an intriguing Malibu starter in MALIBU PRAYER.  The son of Congaree seemed poised for a big second-half of 2009 after dominating straight three-year-olds in the Grade 3 Lone Star Derby in May, but he hasn't raced since.  Like stablemate Misremembered, he may prefer longer distances, but can't be counted out.
KINSELLA performed admirably in a pair of one-mile turf races after returning from throat surgery and the lightly-raced $2.2M yearling purchase may follow in the footsteps of prior grass runners that took to Pro-Ride.  A son of Mr. Greeley, Kinsella will go out for the powerhouse team of Todd Pletcher and Garrett Gomez, but must prove himself at this sprint distance.
SMART BID impressed on the Breeders' Cup Saturday undercard as he returned from an injury-induced layoff to pull off a 13-1 upset over several of today's opposition in the Damascus Stakes.  Smart Bid has good tactical speed and a nice outside stalking trip isn't out of the question.  JERANIMO has some angles in his favor as he'll make the third start of the form cycle while removing blinkers, but he's eligible for a 'n2L' race, and was the beaten favorite against weaker allowance runners last time out.  The undefeated HUNCH pressed moderate fractions en route to a solid 'n2x' win at Hollywood.  He was racing out of conditions that day, and the number came back solid, but he is spotting loads of experience to some good three-year-olds.  SUPREME SUMMIT is 0-3 after returning from injury, but he was up on the fast pace in the Damascus, and was still fighting it out to the wire.  Seven furlongs may be pushing his limit just a bit, however, and there are other speed horses that could engage him in an early duel.  NEW BAY handled 'n2x' optional claimers last time, but is 0-2 in stakes competition, and may be in a bit steep from a class perspective.  Note that he loves this course and distance.  Think M ONE RIFLE is the fastest coming out of the gate, but he's going to have to work to clear this bunch from the outside post, and he's burned a ton of money in his last three races.  CORONET OF A BARON looked good winning two back over this course but he couldn't finish with Smart Bid in the Damascus.  He's shown a nice Beyer progression in recent starts but needs another forward move to grab top honors.  JOIN IN THE DANCE is 0-5 since returning from a hind leg infection, and is only 1-13 lifetime.  He may need a drop in class before he finds the winner's circle.  PAPA CLEM, the Arkansas Derby winner and fourth in the Kentucky Derby, ran poorly on grass at Del Mar, and may prefer longer distances.  SQUARE EDDIE can certainly win this race on his best day, but he's had physical problems all year long, and his recent form isn't up to snuff.

1.  Misremembered
2.  Mythical Power
3.  Kinsella