TORONTO, May 25 – Sam-Son Farm homebred Malibu Secret will look for his first added-money score in Sunday’s $125,000 Grade 3 Marine Stakes, at Woodbine.
Trained by Malcolm Pierce, the dark bay son of Malibu Moon is lightly raced but well regarded as a Queen’s Plate hopeful for Sam-Son Farm who have won the Canadian classic five times.
The lightly raced Malibu Secret debuted with a runner-up effort to Marine rival Channel Maker in the grassy Vandal Stakes in his lone juvenile start on August 17. He then shipped south for the winter to continue training.
"He spent some time at the farm in Ocala and some time at Tampa Bay with me and had a few works. He was actually supposed to run at Tampa Bay," noted Pierce.
Last time out, sent to post as the odds-on favourite in his sophomore debut on April 28, Malibu Secret was away slow but flew by a maiden allowance field to win comfortably by 2 3/4-lengths under leading rider Eurico Rosa da Silva. Malibu Secret covered seven furlongs in 1:23.80 on graduation day earning a good 78 Beyer Speed Figure.
The winning effort came as no surprise to Pierce.
"We’ve always thought a lot of this horse and we think he’s got a lot of talent," said Pierce. "He’s light on seasoning with only two races so far, but we like the timing of the Marine. As long as he performs well there our plan is to go straight to the Queen’s Plate with him."
On Sunday, Malibu Secret will face six rivals as he tackles two turns for the first time in the 1 1/16-mile Tapeta route. Pierce is hopeful the young colt will improve with the added distance.
"He’s relaxed. I think he’s a very rateable horse. It’s not like he’s going to be on the front end all the way and get tired," said Pierce. "He’ll wait for Eurico to tell him it’s time to make his move.
"Going seven eighths he didn’t show much speed breaking his maiden," continued Pierce. "I think he’ll just relax and hopefully make his move when it counts."
To win the Marine, Malibu Secret will have to best a field that includes fellow Plate hopefuls Conquest Lemonraid, Megagray and Channel Maker.
Conquest Lemonraid is one of three Mark Casse trainees in the Marine along with U.S.-bred Souper Tapit and Minister’s Strike. With two wins from three starts, Conquest Lemonraid is a nose away from being perfect after just missing in his May 29, 2016 debut when he almost recovered from a poor start only to lose in a photo finish. He came right back to graduate in a five furlong maiden allowance in his second, and final, juvenile start. The Lemon Drop Kid bay arrives at the Marine from a convincing 1 1/4-length score in his sophomore debut on May 7. Patrick Husbands has the call.
Megagray, trained by Mike Keogh for owner-breeder Gus Schickedanz, broke his maiden second time out when travelling two turns in a maiden allowance event on September 11. Following a winter training at Aiken in South Carolina, Megagray returned to action on May 7 in the Wando Stakes and attended the pace en route to a third behind top Plate contenders King and His Court and Tiz a Slam. Jesse Campbell retains the mount on Megagray.
Channel Maker posted a record of 1-0-2 from four juvenile starts while in the care of trainer Dan Vella. Following a good third in the Grade 2 Summer Stakes, Channel Maker completed his two-year-old campaign with a seventh in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. The English Channel chestnut wintered in Florida at Payson Park and after finishing off the board in the Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes at Gulfstream was transferred to trainer Bill Mott. The gelding has raced twice for his new conditioner finishing fourth and second in turf allowance events at Keeneland. Rafael Hernandez will ride.
The Grade 3 Marine is slated as Race 8 on Sunday’s 10-race card. First post time is 1PM. Fans can watch and wager on all the action via HPIbet.com.
FIELD FOR THE $125,000 GRADE 3 MARINE STAKES
POST / HORSE / JOCKEY / TRAINER
1 / Montu / David Moran / Mike Doyle
2 / Conquest Lemonraid / Patrick Husbands / Mark Casse
3 / Megagray / Jesse Campbell / Mike Keogh
4 / Souper Tapit / Florent Geroux / Mark Casse
5 / Malibu Secret / Eurico Rosa da Silva / Malcolm Pierce
6 / Channel Maker / Rafael Hernandez / Bill Mott
7 / Minister’s Strike / Gary Boulanger / Mark Casse