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Speed Boat Beach-Hejazi finish 1-2 in Malibu S. (G1)
Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Speed Boat Beach topped Hejazi by 1 ½-lengths to give Bob Baffert a one-two finish in the $300,000 Malibu S. (G1) on opening day of the Santa Anita Park winter/spring meet.

Baffert has won four of the past six runnings of the Malibu, and six overall, tying him with fellow Hall of Famer Richard Mandella for most wins in the seven-furlong race.

Hejazi got the jump on the field out of the gate, with Speed Boat Beach less than a half-length back in the first furlong. Speed Boat Beach put his head in front of his stablemate entering the turn, Hejazi responded immediately and re-took the lead, then as the field entered the homestretch, Speed Boat Beach hit his best stride and took command. The eventual winner edged away from there to complete the distance in 1:21.70 on a fast track.

“His issue is that he has always been very aggressive,” Baffert said of Speed Boat Beach. “He’s aggressive in the mornings and aggressive in his races. We have been working on getting him relaxed, a lot of schooling. I’ve got a great team, my riders and my assistants they have been working him a lot.”

Of the runner-up, Baffert added, “Hejazi is a serious horse. He was a little bit keen today. Juan [Hernandez] was telling me he couldn’t get him to relax very well so he used himself up a little bit. I see big things for him down the road.”

Speed Boat Beach, owned by Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman, won the Cecil B. DeMille S. (G3) last year and is 4-1-0 in seven lifetime starts, with earnings of $498,000.

Baffert 2013