For the second time in three years Bob Baffert sent out the winner of the $300,000 Malibu S. (G1) on opening day at Santa Anita Park.
Baffert won the 2011 Malibu with The Factor.
On Wednesday, David Flores guided Shakin It Up to a come-from-behind, half-length victory for owners Mike Pegram (also the breeder) and Dennis Cardoza.
Shakin It Up came from eighth after a half-mile, with Flores going three wide on the turn, to secure the lion's share of the purse. The final time on the fast track was an excellent 1:20.53 for the seven furlongs, just a second off the track record.
“I was expecting a good pace,” said Flores. “The main thing was to get a good start and to place myself where he could relax and just wait for the turn, when I could get after him. And we timed it just right. We closed the year with a good horse.”
“I am overjoyed,” said Cardoza, whose former Congressional district is located in California’s Central Valley. “Mike Pegram is so good for horse racing. He is a champion of a man and one of the best friends I’ve ever had in life. To do it with him is so special that I can’t even put it into words.”
Shakin It Up, by Pegram's two-time Breeders' Cup Sprint champion Midnight Lute, had shown his affinity for the Santa Anita surface before, breaking his maiden there in Oct., 2012 and taking the Grade 2 San Vicente S., also at seven panels, in February.
“He was training great,” said Baffert. “He had the back class to win it, but with the layoff (away since March 24) and being in the two-hole, there were question marks. It’s a great way to end the day, with (him) winning. Midnight Lute has shown what a terrific sire he is.”
With the Malibu win, Shakin It Up raised his earnings to $367,600 with a mark of 3-1-1 in six starts.