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Malibu Stakes Betting – Runhappy Runs Into 2016 With A Win

Posted by on 12/26/2015 2:31:51 AM

The Malibu Stakes is a Grade-1 race that signifies the beginning of the Strub Series at Santa Anita; the San Fernando and the Strub Stakes follows. It is run at seven furlongs on dirt for three-year-olds, and it brings a purse of $300,000. The field can bring in horses from the Breeders' Cup due to its spot on the schedule, and some very good horses have been to the winner's circle here, including last year's winner, Shared Belief. Another victorious horse here was Damascus, the 1967 Preakness and Belmont Stakes winner as well.

Runhappy has been on a roll lately, and he left his mark on the Breeders' Cup two months ago with a win in the Sprint. He'll show that it was no fluke with a victory on Saturday at Santa Anita.

What: Horse Betting

When: Saturday, December 26th, 2015; post time

Where: Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, CA

Pick: Runhappy

Bad Read Sanchez is making his first start since the Grade-1 Santa Anita Derby in April, so rust could be a factor. But prior to that, he had broken his maiden on his first try and finished in the money in three career starts, including a third-place run at the Grade-2 Best Pal Stakes in August 2013. However, he has had a ton of time off, so tread lightly with this horse.

El Kabeir has three career graded-stakes wins, led by the Grade-2 Kentucky Jockey Club last November, and most recently, the Grade-3 Gotham in March. He is coming off a victory at the non-graded City Of Laurel in November, and with six starts this year, this three-year-old has been active. In total, he has finished in the money in nine of 11 career starts, so El Kabier should be on your radar on Saturday.

Lord Nelson hasn't raced since a fourth-place result at the Grade-3 Pat Day Mile in May, so like Bad Read Sanchez, you have to watch for rust. But he has three wins, including a victory at the Grade-2 San Vicente in March. He has been inconsistent, but when he is on, Lord Nelson is a tough three-year-old to beat. If he could ever find a level of consistency, it would be easier to trust this thoroughbred at Santa Anita this weekend.

Marking is two-for-two so far in his short career, breaking his maiden in September and then an allowance race in November at a mile. This is obviously a big test for this colt, but some have high hopes for him. He was sired by Bernardini, the 2006 Preakness Stakes winner, along with the 2006 Grade-1 Jockey Club Gold Cup and he finished second to Invasor in the Breeders' Cup Classic as well. Along with Watershed, he was trained by Kiaran McLaughlin.

Pain And Misery has three runner-up finishes, including at the non-grade Zia Park Derby last month. He has finished in the money twice in five graded-stakes starts, but he can't seem to close the deal. He also has three results of fifth or worst in his career. Don't expect a lot from Pain And Misery, but in a lesser field, he can make some noise from time to time.

Runhappy should be considered the favorite on Saturday, coming off a win at the Breeders' Cup Sprint on Halloween. He has six wins in seven starts, although three were maiden/allowance races. He has also won at seven furlongs back at the Grade-1 King's Bishop in August. There is a ninth-place result at the Grade-3 Lecomte in January, but that was the first race of the year, and he seems to prefer racing a mile or under now. He does have good genes; he was sired by Super Saver, the 2010 Kentucky derby winner, and Super Saver also won the Kentucky Jockey Cup in 2009.

Watershed finished fourth at the King's Bishop, but he has won two maiden/allowance races at six and seven furlongs; the seven-furlong win was in October. This is a big step up in competition for this colt, and he is one to watch for the future. Like Marking, he was sired by Bernardini, which means he is a descendant of Seattle Slew, the 1977 Triple Crown winner.

How It Will Play Out

Runhappy has shown what he can do in sprint races, and maybe longer races are in his future. But he should cruise to victory this weekend to put a bow on an excellent 2015 campaign.

Malibu Stakes Betting Pick: Runhappy



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