2022 TVG Malibu Stakes Betting Odds and Contenders Preview
The final chance for three-year-old dirt males to vie for Grade 1 glory before turning four and having to face older horses comes Monday, December 26, at Santa Anita. The race covers seven furlongs on the Santa Anita main track, and drew a field of nine horses. As usual for such a late-season three-year-old race, it drew a mix of classy locals and horses from all over the country going for that one last age-restricted race.
The likely favorite is Taiba: a two-time Grade 1 winner this year who most recently finished a credible third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. However, with all of his stakes-level starts coming in routes, there may be room for a more dedicated sprinter to steal the spotlight. Read on to find out about the contenders in the 2022 Malibu, and to find out how to watch and wager on the race online!
Malibu Stakes 2022 Information
Race Date: Monday, December 26, 2022
Track: Santa Anita
Post Time: 3:30 p.m. Pacific time
Distnace: seven furlongs on the dirt
Where to Watch: FanDuel TV
Where to Bet: TVG.com and FanDuel Racing
Malibu Stakes Odds
The field for the Malibu was drawn on Wednesday, December 21, with morning lines assigned the following day. The morning line can provide a good preliminary picture of the betting action, though the real odds will fluctuate all the way until post time. It is smart to handicap the race, figure out what odds you expect and what you are willing to take, and then track the odds as post draws nearer.
This is the field for the 2022 Malibu Stakes, including post positions, trainers, jockeys, and morning-line odds.
|1||Forbidden Kingdom||Richard Mandella||Juan Hernandez||3-1|
|2||Messier||Bob Baffert||John Velazquez||6-1|
|3||Apprehend||Peter Miller||Ramon Vazquez||8-1|
|4||Nakatomi||Wesley Ward||Tyler Gaffalione||10-1|
|5||Hoist the Gold||Dallas Stewart||Joel Rosario||12-1|
|6||Taiba||Bob Baffert||Mike Smith||6-5|
|7||Perfect Flight||Peter Miller||Ricardo Santana, Jr.||12-1|
|8||Strava||Dallas Stewart||Flavien Prat||15-1|
|9||Straight No Chaser||Dan Blacker||Edwin Maldonado||20-1|
Make sure to keep watching FanDuel TV all the way through post time. Since horse racing is a game of information, keeping track of the latest news about the Malibu Stakes contenders can help you determine fair odds, understand any swings in the odds, and be ready to make the best bets on race day.
Malibu Stakes Prep Results
Taiba, most recently third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, is the only horse coming into this race out of the Breeders’ Cup. Hoist the Gold last ran a fast-closing fourth in the Steel Valley Sprint, a listed race that serves as the flagship of the Mahoning Valley meet. Two others, Perfect Flight and Apprehend, come out of the Zia Park Derby. Apprehend stalked the pace and won by 2 ¾ lengths; Apprehend, the 3-10 favorite that day, disputed the pace but proved only second best.
Five of the nine runners are coming out of allowance races. Both Nakatomi and Messier are coming out of the same three-and-up sprint allowance on the Breeders’ Cup undercard at Keeneland; Nakatomi stalked the pace and held to win by half a length, while Messier trailed in last after bleeding. Strava won a second-level allowance at Churchill Downs going the one-turn mile on November 27, while Straight No Chaser won a first-level at Santa Anita on October 29, going six and a half furlongs. Both of those were also open to ages three and up. Rail-drawn Forbidden Kingdom also last raced in allowance company, setting the pace before finishing third, beaten only half a length to the older Get Her Number. Among these five coming out of allowance company, almost all have stakes experience; only Straight No Chaser makes his stakes debut in the Malibu.
Malibu Stakes Contenders
Forbidden Kingdom: One of the most promising three-year-olds early in the season, this Richard Mandella trainee had some setbacks through midyear. However, his good third in an allowance at Del Mar on November 20, where he came close against older horses, including G1 winner Get Her Number, was a step in the right direction. This seven-furlong trip should be excellent for him, too; he was impressive in the San Vicente (G2) earlier this year over the same course and distance. The only question is if he ends up having to get into a duel—speed is his main weapon, but Straight No Chaser may be able to go with him early
Messier: One of two from the Bob Baffert barn, he has to bounce back from a last-place showing in an allowance at Keeneland, where he bled. The fact that he has to race without Lasix again makes it a concern, though he has run well without it in the past, and in fact, has never raced with it. He is a Grade 3 winner going seven furlongs, though that was age two and his only sprint try as a sophomore was the last-out race. He has talent, but he may be too much of a mixed bag given the likely short price because of being trained by Baffert.
Apprehend: One of two who last raced in the 1 1/16-mile Zia Park Derby, this Peter Miller trainee romped in a second-level allowance against older foes two starts back. Most of his races have come at one turn, and his two six-and-a-half-furlong tries in allowance company were both good races—including a second-place finish behind classy older horse C Z Rocket in July. He needs one of his better races, but if he finds it on the cutback, he could provide some value.
Nakatomi: Unlike so many in this field, who are either mostly routers or have been bouncing between sprints and routes, this Wesley Ward trainee has been a dyed-in-the-wool sprinter. He most recently won a classy allowance at Keeneland on the Breeders’ Cup undercard. That race covered six and a half furlongs; the seven furlongs of the Malibu will be his longest race to date. He has yet to prove himself in graded company, though if he can run back to his Keeneland effort, this may be the time for this versatile gelding.
Hoist the Gold: This Dallas Stewart trainee is the most experienced in the field, with fifteen starts so far. He is a focused sprinter but has yet to prove himself against graded-quality horses; his only graded try was a well-beaten sixth in the Amsterdam. He has hit the board in stakes company in both of his tries at seven furlongs, suggesting some ability at the distance, and can take his form to multiple tracks. His best efforts may get him into exotics.
Taiba: The class of the field, this Bob Baffert trainee’s only real misstep came in the Kentucky Derby, where he ran twelfth in only his third career start. Since then, he has run three very good races—however, all of those have come at 1 ⅛ miles or longer. In fact, the only time Taiba has sprinted was his debut, a six-furlong maiden special weight at Santa Anita in March. He is unlikely to match the early speed of Straight No Chaser or Forbidden Kingdom. Maybe that won’t matter, as his speed figures make him downright imposing for this field. But, with all of his mature, stakes-level races coming going long, we still don’t know how good he is at one turn.
Perfect Flight: Trained by Peter Miller, this son of Uncle Mo has not gone one turn since a well-beaten attempt in maiden company in October of 2021 at Belmont. Since then, he has only gone long. Though it took him a drop into a $75,000 maiden claimer to win for the first time in June, he has since proven himself a useful and even stakes-quality horse, snagging shares in the La Jolla (G3) and Twilight Derby (G2) on grass before winning the Zia Park Derby on dirt. Especially on the cutback to one turn, pace is his concern; he likes to be up close early, and probably lacks the pace to get that trip.
Strava: Another from the barn of Dallas Stewart, he most recently romped in the slop over a one-turn mile at Churchill Downs on November 27. That one-turn mile appears to be his specialty; both of his victories against winners have come over that trip. He is also versatile enough to rally from off the pace, a positive since he probably cannot outjump the true sprint speed in this race. However, he has to prove that the improvement he showed last out was not only a function of the track being sloppy, since he will have to run the best race of his career to date in order to stack up with the company in the Malibu.
Straight No Chaser: The only one trying stakes company for the first time, this Dan Blacker trainee started his career on grass, tried a dirt sprint on October 29, and romped on the front end. The win showed that he had an aptitude both for dirt and for an extended one-turn distance, as it covered 6 ½ furlongs. However, speed is his biggest weapon, and he folded the one time he did have major company up front. With Forbidden Kingdom drawn inside, Straight No Chaser may run into trouble.
Malibu Stakes Past Winners Past Performances
Over the last ten years, the Breeders’ Cup has been a strong source of Malibu winners, with both winners and also-rans finding the winners’ circle in the Malibu. Six of the last ten winners of the Malibu last raced in the Breeders’ Cup. Though the only winner was Runhappy (2015), who won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1), other horses came from that race, the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1), and the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) to win the Malibu.
Among the Breeders’ Cup non-winners, Mind Your Biscuits (2016) ran second in the Sprint, and Omaha Beach (2019) ran second in the Dirt Mile. The other three last-out alumni ran off the board at Breeders’ Cup. Jimmy Creed (2012) ran ninth in the Sprint, Shared Belief (2014) ran fourth in the Classic, and McKinzie (2018) ran twelfth in the Classic.
Out of the other four winners in the last ten years, two came from stakes company and two others from first-level allowances. Shakin It Up (2013) had last run fourth in the Sunland Derby, though he was already a Grade 2 winner in the San Vicente. Three of the last five winners were lightly-raced horses who came out of non-Breeders’ Cup races. City of Light (2018) made his stakes debut in the Malibu; he had come second in an N1X last out. Charlatan (2020) won the Malibu in his fourth career start, and his first since winning the Arkansas Derby (G1). Last year, Flightline won the Malibu in his stakes debut; his two other races were impressive six-furlong wins in maiden and N1X company.
Malibu Stakes Undercard
The 2022 Malibu Stakes will be run as the 10th of 11 races on Santa Anita’s card on Monday, December 26. The Malibu is one of six graded-stakes races on the card. The La Brea (G1) and American Oaks (G1), like the Malibu, are late-season, top-level races for three-year-olds. The Santa Anita Mathis Mile (G2) showcases sophomore turf horses, while the San Gabriel (G2) and the San Antonio (G2) are open to older runners. With such a full day of classy racing, make sure to watch and wager all day long at FanDuel TV!
Santa Anita Park
Santa Anita Park began as a part of Rancho Santa Anita. After a series of owners, it was acquired by horse breeder Lucky Baldwin, who built the original Santa Anita Park in 1904. That facility closed in 1909 after a California law banning racetrack gambling, and burned down in 1912. Horse racing became legal again in California in 1933, after which the Los Angeles Turf Club was formed. They built a new track, the present Santa Anita, which opened on Christmas Day in 1934.
Santa Anita's main track is a one-mile dirt oval. The turf track inside of it is a 0.9-mile grass oval. A unique feature of that Santa Anita turf track is the downhill course, which juts out to the northwest over the far turn, crosses over the dirt, and then joins the turf oval. Santa Anita runs 6 ½-furlong turf sprints over that course, and also uses it as a start for some of its longer turf routes.
Malibu Stakes FAQ
Q: When is the Malibu Stakes?
A: Monday, December 26 at 3:30 pm Pacific.
Q: Where is the Malibu Stakes?
A: It takes place at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.
Q: Which trainer has the most wins in the Malibu Stakes?
A: Trainer Richard Mandella leads all barns with six victories in the Malibu, most recently in 2019 with Omaha Beach. Mandella has rail-drawn Forbidden Kingdom in this year’s edition.
Q: Who is the favorite for the Malibu Stakes?
A: Taiba, most recently third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, is the 6-5 morning line favorite and should be the favorite come post time. He brings the classiest form to the race, but has been focusing on route races and, therefore, may be vulnerable against a more dedicated sprinter.
Q: Who is the best Malibu Stakes jockey?
A: Bill Shoemaker won the Malibu eight times in his career between 1957 and 1986. Among jockeys riding in the 2022 Malibu, Mike Smith leads with five victories, most recently with Charlatan in 2020. In 2022 Smith will ride favored Taiba.
Q: Who won the Malibu Stakes in 2021?
A: Flightline won the 2021 Malibu Stakes for trainer John Sadler and jockey Flavien Prat. Sadler does not have an entrant this year, though Prat rides Strava for Dallas Stewart.