12/26/2016 8:18PM

Mind Your Biscuits gets his Grade 1 in Malibu Stakes

Benoit & Associates
Mind Your Biscuits and jockey Joel Rosario outfinish Sharp Azteca to win the Malibu Stakes on Monday.

ARCADIA, Calif. - West Coast journeys were spectacularly productive for Mind Your Biscuits in the final months of 2016.

After finishing third in the $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita on Nov. 5, Mind Your Biscuits won the first Grade 1 race of his career in Monday’s $301,380 Malibu Stakes for 3-year-olds at the same venue.

Ridden by Joel Rosario, Mind Your Biscuits closed from fourth in a field of nine to win by a half-length over stretch leader Sharp Azteca. Rosario said that in early stretch he was briefly worried Mind Your Biscuits was too close to the pace, but the colt showed an ample kick in the final furlong.

“He was a little closer than he’d been before,” Rosario said. “He handled it well.”

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Mind Your Biscuits ($9.40) was timed in 1:20.81. The Malibu Stakes was the first Grade 1 win for 22-year-old trainer Robert Falcone Jr. Mind Your Biscuits gave Falcone his first graded stakes win in the Grade 2 Amsterdam Stakes at Saratoga in late July.

The Malibu Stakes was one of two Grade 1 races on Monday’s nine-race program, the opening day of the track’s winter-spring meeting. Monday’s program drew an ontrack audience of 46,514.

Mind Your Biscuits was trained in New York in late November and early December before returning to Southern California earlier this month for the Malibu.

Mind Your Biscuits was the second choice in a field of nine in the Malibu. Rosario had Mind Your Biscuits fourth on the backstretch through an opening quarter-mile of 22.16 seconds set by the longshot Jazzy Times. Mind Your Biscuits moved to the outside of Sharp Azteca for the stretch run and took the lead in the final sixteenth.

Sharp Azteca, a stakes winner at Churchill Downs and Laurel earlier this year, finished 2 1/4 lengths in front of Ten Blessings, the 8-5 favorite, who was third. Ten Blessings was sixth between runners early and closed steadily to finish 2 3/4 lengths behind the winner.

Mor Spirit was fourth in his first start since a 10th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby in May. Awesome Banner was fifth, followed by Semper Fortis, Who’s Out, Horse Greedy, and Jazzy Times.

Mind Your Biscuits, by Posse, has won 4 of 13 starts and earned $675,366 for a partnership that includes J Stables, Chad Summers, and Head of Plains Partners.

Mind Your Biscuits is expected to be placed second in the BC Sprint. Runner-up Masochistic later tested positive for a medication banned on raceday, but no formal penalty or purse redistribution has been announced by the California Horse Racing Board.