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Dec 29, 2006

Latent Heat sizzles in Malibu Stakes


Arcadia, CA (Sports Network) - Latent Heat, ridden by Edgar Prado, took control down the stretch on his way to winning Tuesday's $250,000 Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita Park. The Malibu is the last graded stakes race on dirt for three-year-olds at Santa Anita in 2006.

A dozen thoroughbreds loaded into the starting for the seven furlong race after Monarcho Polo had been scratched earlier. The field broke well from the gate with Latent Heat and Northern Soldier flying from the outside.

Taking the lead up the backstretch was Sailors Sunset followed closely by Da Stoops, Latent Heat and Northern Soldier. Da Stoops took a short lead over Sailors Sunset around the turn for home.

At the top of the stretch it was a cavalry charge with four or five horses vying for the lead. Latent Heat assumed the lead inside the furlong pole and drew away.

Trained by Bobby Frankel, Latent Heat won the Malibu by two lengths over Spring At Last who edged Midlight Lute for second. Da Stoops faded to fourth followed by Northern Soldier, Sailors Sunset, Brother Derek, Arson Squad, Hyperbaric, Potential, It's a Bird and Objective.

The time for the Malibu on a fast track was 1:21.38

Santa Anita Derby winner Brother Derek, with new jockey Garrett Gomez, had a difficult trip during the race. The 2-1 favorite has failed to win in his last six starts.

"I had a couple chances to do other things early on in the race," Gomez said, "and he kept me from doing them. I was down inside and he wasn't liking it down in there. Every time I tried to give him his head and get him to do something, his first move was out, so he had my hands tied where I couldn't do anything with him."

Latent Heat is owned by Juddmonte Farm which part of the Maktoum family racing empire. The three-year-old colt adds $150,000 to his bankroll which now stands at $318,600 for 2006 and $327,400 overall. He notched his fifth victory of the year in eight starts. The Malibu is Latent Heat's first career stakes win after finishing second this summer in the Long Branch Stakes at Monmouth Park.

"He performed like he was supposed to today," noted Frankel after winning the Malibu for the second time.

"I'm not sure he wants to go around two turns," Frankel said concerning the colt's future. "It's always important for Juddmonte horses to get a Grade I win (for stallion purposes), because they're well bred."

Kentucky Derby winning rider Edgar Prado has been aboard Latent Heat the last three starts. Back in March the colt was third to Brother Derek in the Santa Catalina Stakes.

"It seemed like the speed was doing good today," Prado said. "He broke great and I took a little hold and got a good position in behind the leaders. He was ready today."

Latent Heat returned $13.40, $8.20 and $5.40. Spring At Last paid $13.80 and $7.40, and Midnight Lute, the 3-1 second choice, paid $4.60 for show.

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