Shakin It Up (orange and yellow silks) surges to the front in the stretch to win the Malibu Stakes on Thursday at Santa Anita Park. (Photos courtesy of Benoit & Associates)
Making his first start since March, Shakin It Up proved he was back on top of his game on Thursday in the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes and also delivered quite a going-away present to his jockey, David Flores.
Shakin It Up rallied from near the back of the 11-horse field and outfinished Central Banker to win by a half-length on opening day of the winter/spring meeting at Santa Anita Park. He had not raced since finishing fourth in the Sunland Derby on March 24 after establishing himself as a possible contender for the 2013 Triple Crown races when winning the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes in February under Flores.
For Flores, the win was extra special as he and his family had plans to fly later that evening to Singapore, where he is scheduled ride for the next six months. Winning a $300,000 Grade 1 race should make the 8,770-mile flight to Singapore seem a little bit shorter for the Flores family.
Shakin It Up was sent off at 17-to-1 odds and returned $36 for a $2 win bet. He completed seven furlongs in 1:20.53, about four-fifths of a second of the track record of 1:19.70 set by Twirling Candy in the 2010 Malibu.
Shakin It Up improved to three wins in six starts for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert and owners Dennis Cardoza and Mike Pegram. The 3-year-old by champion sprinter Midnight Lute looks like one to keep an eye on next season.
In winning the Malibu Shakin It Up etched his name in the record books alongside a stellar group of past winners that includes Round Table, Native Diver, Buckpasser, Damascus, Spectacular Bid, Ferdinand and Precisionist to name a few.
Also on the card, Heir Kitty reeled in pacesetter Sweet Lulu and pulled away to win the $300,250 La Brea Stakes by 1 ¼ lengths for her first career stakes win.
Trained by Peter Miller and ridden by Hall of Famer Gary Stevens, Heir Kitty finally earned a breakthrough stakes win after finishing in the top three in three previous stakes races, including a runner-up finish in the Grade 2 Best Pal Stakes as a 2-year-old in 2012.
A bay filly by Wildcat heir, Heir Kitty improved to four wins in 14 starts and the $180,000 winner’s share of the La Brea purse nearly doubled her career earnings to $370,272.
One race after the La Brea, multiple stakes winner Genvinho picked up his first victory in a graded stakes when he edged Procurement by a head in a thrilling finish in the Grade 2 Sir Beaufort Stakes.