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McKinzie outclasses Malibu S. (G1) field
Thursday, December 27, 2018
McKinzie powers to victory in the $300,000 Malibu S. (G1) - Benoit photo
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McKinzie's incredible burst in the final furlong carried the 3-year-old colt to a 4 3/4-length victory in the $300,000 Malibu S. (G1) on the opening day of the Santa Anita meet.

McKinzie, who is Bob Baffert's third Malibu winner, also became racing's newest millionaire with the victory. His record now stands at 5-1-0 in seven starts, with earnings of $1,086,000 for Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman.

Following an uncharacteristically poor performance in the Nov. 3 Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) at Churchill Downs, McKinzie returned to Santa Anita for the Malibu. Despite drawing post 13 in the 14-horse field, McKinzie was the bettors 6-5 favorite at post time.

With no choice but to stay well off the fence, Mike Smith let McKinzie settle well off the pace for the backstretch run. Going into the turn, he began to make up ground four-wide and was within about four lengths of the lead at the top of the stretch. Kicking into high gear soon after, the bay colt blew by the leaders and was all alone at the wire.

The final time of 1:22.48 for the seven furlongs on a fast track was good for a Beyer Speed figure of 103, his third triple-digit number in his young career.

"After the Breeders' Cup he came back here and I told (Smith) he was doing really well, and Mike worked him a couple times for me," Baffert said. "Because after the Breeders' Cup, Mike was like, 'Is he okay? He just quit.' I told him, 'Don't worry about it. It was my fault.'" 

Prior to the Breeders' Cup, McKinzie won this year's Pennsylvania Derby (G1) and Sham S. (G3), as well as the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) as a 2-year-old.

Baffert 2013