The 2021 Malibu Stakes and More

A New Year is on the horizon. It was both an eventful and tumultuous year in the Sport of Kings, but the races went on and we fought all the battles. We wish all of you and all of yours the very best this Holiday Season and the healthiest and happiest of New Years.

What better time than New Years is there to step up your game and handicapping, replays and trip watching, ticket structure, and money management? Exactly, none! We at Past the Wire and AmWager are dedicated to helping you do just that. If you haven’t done so already listen to this recent podcast, we did on the often-overlooked essential skill of money management at the races. It is right up there with handicapping, ticket structure and all the rest of the tools and skills you need for your best shot at success!

Money Management at the Races, check it out HERE!

AmWager is as innovative as anyone out there with their platform and tools for the bettor. I often talk about their dutching calculator which is another often-overlooked tool that can be extremely valuable in the right circumstances. This is a good time to add it to the arsenal and see what it and the other tools at AmWager can do for you. This past summer when we did our daily Saratoga Today show we spoke about dutching and how it can help.

Check out dutching with the AmWager calculator on Saratoga Today on Past the Wire TV. It can only help!

The Dutching Episode of Saratoga Today, catch it HERE

In today’s game the best edge is your eyes! What you see is what you get and watching replays and trips can give you the separation from the field you need. At TRACKING TRIPS that is precisely what we do! It doesn’t matter what your level of play is, everyone can use a second set of trained eyes.

Lear more about TRACKING TRIPS right HERE and remember if you are not a member you must hate money! Watch Past the Wire and TRACKING TRIPS for info on our upcoming free live interactive Pegasus World Cup seminar and analysis with full replay available. Membership does have its privileges!

Opening day for Santa Anita’s winter meet has been a big racing day for a while. Stakes galore headlined by one of the last Grade 1’s for the year, the Malibu for three-year olds at 7 furlongs. This year the race came up exciting as it often does. We have one super hyped horse who doesn’t make it to the races often but when he does, he runs a hole in the wind. We have the Breeders’ Cup Sprint runner-up back against his own age after running against older. That doesn’t matter all that much this time of year, but he is still and nice entrant. We also have one from Bob Baffert who just happens to be an undefeated half-brother to American Pharoah by Tapit. How can you not want to see this race? There are four other horses in here and none fall into the slouch category.

Baby Yoda looked like an up and comer when he blitzed a field in a Saratoga allowance race in his second start for Bill Mott. He could not run back to that huge effort in two subsequent races but instead of backing off and looking towards his four-year-old season, Mott sends him across the country to face some killers. A bold move from a deadly barn is always something to pay attention to. He’ll break from the rail and can sit just off the speed. It is not unnoticed he had some trouble in the two races he lost following that monster win at Saratoga. He has a work over the track at Santa Anita, he skipped the Breeders’ Cup, so we know he was pointed for this. He’s interesting at a price.

Timeless Bounty comes into this race in the best form of his career to date. He likes to come from off the pace and the 7 furlongs should help him. I think he is up against it in here and I don’t see him being this good.

Stilleto Boy has been keeping good company and running against older at longer distances. This is an interesting spot and move. He likes the track and has the class. If he can handle the cut back and faster splits, he will see here he can get into this late. That is no easy task and while I respect the ambitious and gutsy move, I say prove it.

Dr. Schivel is a dead game horse and did everything but win the Breeders’ Cup Sprint albeit with a perfect trip and ride. Prat jumps off to stick with super hyped Flightline, but Juan Hernandez makes the most of his chances and this guy is a runner with a nice stalk and pounce style. He’ll make noise in here.

Flightline is touted as the second coming and many thought, and they could be right, he would have been the favorite had he run in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint. He has been awesome and fast in his two starts, but they were not against what he will face here and obviously something is keeping him away from the starting gate more often. He’ll be a short price based on a lot of hype, and while he may trounce these too, in the long run that is not the best proposition to go after. I’ll try and beat him.

Team Merchants goes turf to dirt and cuts back. This colt still has some upside, but this is a tough spot to go forward based on what he has shown he can do thus far.

Prat also jumps off Triple Tap to stick with Flightline. Not many take off undefeated Baffert horses, in a Grade 1 no less, so we know the Flightline hype is not just bettors and fans. The colt can run and may be a serious racehorse if he can keep it together and stay sound. That said American Pharoah’s half-brother is no second stringer. He won from well off the pace Breeders’ Cup Day at Del Mar and has every right to go forward here. He is working lights out and has back-to-back patented Bob six furlong 1:12 handily works for this and that says ready big time. I’ll take him to run by them all late and get the Grade 1 Malibu win.

Enjoy the races everybody, and let’s step up our games together in 2022!


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Jon Stettin

Since childhood, Jon has always had a deep love and respect for the Sport of Kings. His years of experience have earned him a well respected spot in the industry as a handicapper. He now is a frequent contributor to AmWager as well as writing for his own site.

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