07/08/2016 5:27PM

Wake Up in Malibu scores front-running victory in Saginaw

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Wake Up in Malibu rolls to a 2 1/4-length victory under Manny Franco in the Saginaw.

ELMONT, N.Y. - The terrific Belmont spring/summer meet continued for trainer Charlton Baker and jockey Manny Franco on Friday as they teamed up to win the $100,000 Saginaw Stakes with Wake Up in Malibu.

Breaking on top and continuing on the lead throughout, Wake Up in Malibu was never caught, scoring a 2 1/4-length victory in the 1 1/16-mile race for New York-breds.

Royal Posse, the 4-5 favorite, finished second by two lengths over Good Luck Gus, who was 3 1/2 lengths in front of Sioux. The second, third, and fourth-place finishers were all trained by Rudy Rodriguez. Pax in Terra raced last throughout.

The win was the second on the card and 50th of the meet for Franco, who is vying for second place in the standings with Irad Ortiz Jr., both well behind Jose Ortiz.

For Baker, the win was the sixth of the meet and second in a stakes. Last month, he captured the Grade 2 True North with Joking. That was his first career graded stakes victory.

Wake Up in Malibu, a gelding by Malibu Moon, was claimed for $35,000 last August at Saratoga by John Parisella for Max and Saul Kupferberg. He had a win and a third in two starts last fall.

Parisella retired from training earlier this year and the horse was moved by the Kupferbergs to Baker. In his first start off a seven-month layoff, Wake Up in Malibu finished second behind Connect in an allowance race on Belmont Stakes Day.

In the Saginaw, it looked like Wake Up in Malibu could get in a speed duel with Sioux. But Sioux broke a bit slow and Wake Up in Malibu had an uncontested lead through posted fractions of 23.23 seconds for the quarter-mile, 45.12 for the half-mile, 1:08.71 for six furlongs, and 1:33.57 for the mile. He was credited with a final time of 1:40.39 for 1 1/16 miles.

“It didn’t look like he was going that fast. He looked like he was running comfortable,” Baker said. “I thought I should have waited one more race before I go against this competition but he was training so good you know what, take a shot. He trains like a good horse.”

Wake Up in Malibu returned $8.30 as the second betting choice.

Baker said Wake Up in Malibu could be considered for the $100,000 Evan Shipman Stakes for New York-breds at Saratoga on Sept. 2.

 Earlier on the card, Twilight Eclipse won a high-class allowance race by 2 1/2 lengths over stablemate Smooth Daddy as trainer Tom Albertrani ran one-two.

It was the first win for the 7-year-old Twilight Eclipse since he captured the Grade 1 Man o’ War in May 2015.

Twilight Eclipse, a gelding by Purim ridden by Javier Castellano, ran 1 3/8 miles in 2:13.15 and returned $3.20.