Malibu Kid had to race from the outside for most of the mile en route to a victory in the Winners Over/Open Handicap Trot, worth a $15,000 purse, on Sunday afternoon (Dec. 3) at Saratoga Casino Hotel.
Matthew Athearn and the Larry Stalbaum student got away fourth as City Of Hope (Jim Devaux) and Esa (Billy Dobson) battled for the front through the opening panel in :28.4. After that station, City Of Hope took command of the front and Malibu Kid moved first-over. Through panels in :59.2 and 1:28.1, Malibu Kid continued on the engine on the outside. The pair of leaders met head-to-head at the top of the stretch and Bluffinner (Jordan Derue) threw his hat in the ring of contention going into the lane. Malibu Kid accelerated as he closed in on the wire and won by one length in 1:57.4. Bluffinner took second and City Of Hope finished third.
Owned by Shark Racing Stable, the five-year-old gelding won his ninth race of the season from 39 starts and his 33rd career victory. He jumped his career earnings to $301,994. Malibu Kid returned $6.60 for the triumph.
Also on tap for the Sunday card was a fundraising event for the National Kidney Foundation featuring activities for kids, music, pictures with Santa, a food truck, VR horse racing and raffle prizes. Donations to the event included 37 packed and themed baskets that were raffled off, yielding $5,000 in the total amount raised. Eleven trainers and drivers donated theirfive per cent for the entire day, including six of the eight trainers entered in the National Kidney Foundation sponsored race in race seven on the card.
Majestic Fire won the National Kidney Foundation race in 1:58 with Athearn holding the lines for trainer Wayne Cukerstein. Santa presented the blanket in the winner’s circle and posed for the picture.
(Saratoga Casino Hotel)