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Santa Anita: The Lumber Guy tops deep Malibu Stakes
ARCADIA, Calif. – Christmas came early for trainer Neil Drysdale, who had owner Barry Schwartz move The Lumber Guy to his barn for winter racing at Santa Anita following his runner-up finish in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. He gets to play with that present Wednesday, when The Lumber Guy heads an outstanding field of 10 in the Grade 1, $300,000 Malibu Stakes, highlight of the terrific opening-day card at Santa Anita.
The Malibu is the eighth race on a nine-race card that begins at noon Pacific. It is the second of two Grade 1 races, preceded by the La Brea for fillies, featuring champion My Miss Aurelia.
The Lumber Guy showed raw talent right from the start, winning his first two starts, but he solidified his position as one of the nation’s elite sprinters in the fall, when he won the Vosburgh and followed that up with a game effort behind Trinniberg in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Both those races were at six furlongs, but he won the Jerome, a one-turn mile, in April, so the seven furlongs of the Malibu should be in his wheelhouse.
The Lumber Guy has worked five times for Drysdale since Nov. 26, including a six-furlong drill in 1:14 on Thursday at Betfair Hollywood Park, where Drysdale is based.
“Everything’s been very straightforward with him,” Drysdale said. “He’s a lovely horse – very attractive, well made. And he’s a happy horse.”
The Lumber Guy will run into a few buzzsaws. This Malibu is one of the best in years. Others in the race include Unbridled’s Note, who was second in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint and third in the King’s Bishop, and the comebacking Drill, who won the seven-furlong San Vicente here in February and has trained brilliantly for his first start since May, including a blazing six-furlong gate work in 1:10.20 on Friday.
“He’s doing really well,” said his trainer, Bob Baffert, who has four horses entered in the Malibu. “But it’s gonna be a really tough race. It’s not gonna be an easy Malibu.”
Baffert also will send out Fed Biz, who is shortening up after a disappointing eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, as well as Castaway and Guilt Trip.
Castaway, who won a division of the Southwest Stakes in February, is making his first start since April. He, too, has worked well for his return, though his best races have been around two turns.
Guilt Trip, previously trained by Chad Brown, has defeated maidens and a first-level allowance field in four starts. This will be his first race outside New York and against Grade 1 company.
Why so many?
“It’s a Grade 1. Worth taking a shot,” Baffert said.
Unbridled’s Note unites trainer Steve Asmussen and jockey Corey Nakatani, who team with My Miss Aurelia earlier in the day in the La Brea. Unbridled’s Note might have been best in the seven-furlong King’s Bishop, which he lost by a half-length after encountering severe traffic trouble through the stretch.
“He was pretty unlucky,” said Scott Blasi, Asmussen’s top assistant.
Jimmy Creed was a disappointing ninth of 14 in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, in which he was compromised by an inside post in the large field. He is capable of better, having finished third behind the older pair of Coil and Capital Account in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship in October, but he again drew inside, post 2 of 10, so he has to get out and go.
Politicallycorrect returns from Florida to Santa Anita, where he won the seven-furlong Damascus on the Breeders’ Cup undercard Nov. 3. He has two wins and a second in three starts at the Malibu distance.
Private Zone, second to Politicallycorrect in the Damascus, subsequently finished second to the older Smiling Tiger in the Grade 3 Underwood at Hollywood Park on Dec. 2. He is one of two entrants for trainer Doug O’Neill, who also sends out Basmati.
Basmati returned from a 10-month layoff to win a first-level allowance race on the Nov. 2 Breeders’ Cup undercard, then was freshened for the Malibu.
I love Neil Drysdale. But can anyone tell me a horse he has ever had that was a top sprinter? I can't it is weird that he got this horse. I hope he does well with him, Neil, is a great trainer should be interesting...
I like the Lumber Guy but I don't like horses coming out of a tough Breeders' Cup race. It seems to take a lot out of them and they usually need several races to get back to their best form. I could be wrong, but I find it hard to believe that if The Lumber Guy had won the Breeders' Cup Sprint he'd be running today.
can somebody explain the ping pong match with doug o'neil and leandro mora, going back and forth on training the same horse?
My top 3, Politically Correct, Jimmy Creed and Lumber Guy. I think a fast pace will help Politically Correct because he will be behind the pace setters, a good stalking pace to pounce on. I like Jimmy Creed post position it will help him jump on the lead save ground on the rail and push it toward the end. Lumber Guy came 2nd the one of the fastest sprinters in the country at Santa Anita (Trinniburg) last race so i know he can handle surface for mostly a new york horse. I might use Basmati because of the trainer jock combo, won last at SA at 7 furlongs last race so maybe worth a couple bucks, weird things can happen in this type of race.
Politicallycorrect. Private Zone could be dangerous at Santa Anita if he gets an easy lead. The Lumber Guy is obvious. I don't like horses coming in off long layoffs in Grade 1's
fedbiz is very dangerous in here 1 mile was too long for him against better and he has a stalking advantage if race falls apart n better value than the lumber guy, watch out
This is The Lumber Guy's race to lose. He ran a top effort against an inside speed bias and was beaten by a world class sprinter. He was laso acing against 3 and up for the first time. Lumber Guy all the way.
Castaway- top five three year olds before the derby, was sidelined and now at this distance I say he is ten lengths better then the lumber guy
Johhny V ships Lumber Guy wins. Any questions?
I had read somewhere that Carla Gaines' Midnight Transfer was coming back in this race. And now I see that he's not entered. Anyone know where is coming back?