Minister Eric, will wear blinkers in Malibu.

Minister Eric, will wear blinkers in Malibu.

Anne M. Eberhardt

Minister Eric Adding Blinkers for Malibu Return

Minister Eric, who ran third in his only race since an eventful 16th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) May 1, will wear blinkers when he tackles a competitive field in the Malibu Stakes (gr. I) Sunday at Santa Anita Park.

The Malibu headlines the opening-day card as the Arcadia, Calif., track ushers in its 70th anniversary season.

Minister Eric, a Kentucky-bred son of Old Trieste, worked four furlongs Wednesday morning in :47 2/5 for Richard Mandella, who also plans to saddle Swaps Stakes (gr. I) winner Rock Hard Ten, making his first start under the guidance of the Hall of Fame trainer.

"It was a little eye-opener," Mandella said of Minister Eric's drill. "He ran well enough (in an optional claiming race at 6 ½ furlongs at Hollywood Park on Nov. 17). We're putting blinkers on him for the Malibu. I think that might perk him up and he should like the distance of seven furlongs. He was beaten a half-length at that distance in the Del Mar Futurity."

Minister Eric, owned by the Diamond A Racing Corporation of Jerry Ford of Texas, has a 2-3-3 record from 10 starts with earnings of $442,771, the majority of that coming from a second-place finish behind stablemate Action This Day in the 2003 Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I).

Probable for the Malibu: Areyoutalkintome, no rider; Grand Reward, no rider; Harvard Avenue, no rider; Jeffries Bay, Jose Valdivia Jr.; Love of Money, Victor Espinoza; Mass Media, no rider; Minister Eric, Rene Douglas; Perfect Moon, no rider; Rock Hard Ten, Gary Stevens; Saratoga County, Mark Guidry; Sinister G., no rider; and With Distinction, Tyler Baze.