Malibu S. (gr. I)

(gr. I , 7f ,)

LATENT HEAT (B h, 115 lb) $150,000
Maria's Mon —True Flare , by Capote
B—Juddmonte Farms Inc, KY.; O—Juddmonte Farms, Inc.; T—Robert J. Frankel

Spring At Last (DK B/ h, 119 lb) $50,000
Silver Deputy —Winter's Gone , by Dynaformer
B—WinStar Farm, LLC, KY.; O—Cauthen, Lessee, Douglas E. and Reddam, J. Paul; T—Doug F. O'Neill

Midnight Lute (DK B/ h, 119 lb) $30,000
Real Quiet —Candytuft , by Dehere
B—Marjac Farms, KY.; O—Watson and Weitman Performances, LLC and Pegram, Michael E.; T—Bob Baffert

Margins: 2, head, 1. Others: Da Stoops 119($15,000) , Northern Soldier 117($5,000) , Sailors Sunset 119 , Brother Derek 121 , Arson Squad 121 , Hyperbaric 117 , Potential 118 , It's a Bird 116 , Objective 115 . Winning Jockey, Edgar S. Prado.

Opening day at Santa Anita is one of the highlights in all of racing and this year was no exception. Especially for Edgar Prado, who rode Latent Heat to a thrilling victory in the featured Malibu Stakes (gr. I) at seven furlongs Dec. 26.

The Malibu is the fifth win in nine starts for Latent Heat, who began his racing career with a runner-up effort opening day at Santa Anita 2005. His other four wins ranged from distances of 61¼2 furlongs to a mile.

“I’m not sure (if he’ll run in the 11¼16-mile San Fernando Breeders’ Cup Stakes Jan. 13),” said Robert Frankel, who trains the homebred colt for Khaled Abdullah’s Juddmonte Farms. “I’m not sure he wants to go around two turns. It’s always important for Juddmonte horses to get a grade I win (for stallion purposes), because they’re well bred.”

Mizzen Mast, a Juddmonte homebred who won the 2001 Malibu for Frankel, stands at Juddmonte near Lexington.

Latent Heat’s Malibu time, 1:21.39, is about 12¼5 seconds slower than the stakes and track record of 1:20 flat set by Spectacular Bid in 1980. One of the all-time greats, Spectacular Bid experienced no problem winning around two turns. His Malibu win that January launched the start of an unbeaten nine-race season that saw him also compete at Hollywood Park, Arlington Park, Monmouth Park, and Belmont Park, closing out his career with an historic walkover in the Woodward Stakes (gr. I).

Latent Heat’s dam, Juddmonte homebred True Flare, was a two-time grade II winner and grade I stakes-placed in the U.S. and a stakes winner in France. Her first four foals are all stakes winners or stakes-placed. Art Master is a French group winner and graded stakes-placed in the U.S. Indian Flare won the Kalookan Queen Handicap Dec. 28 at Santa Anita. True Flare’s youngest foal, a 2006 colt, is by Juddmonte homebred runner and stallion Empire Maker. True Flare is in foal to Giant’s Causeway.

Maria’s Mon, sire of Latent Heat, has sired 28 stakes winners. His 10 stakes winners of 2006 included Wait a While (gr. IT), High Limit (gr. II), Strong Contender (gr. II), Cause to Believe (gr. III), and Gaff (gr. III), who won the Dec. 23 Bonapaw Stakes at Fair Grounds. Maria’s Mon stands at Josephine Abercrombie’s Pin Oak Stud near Versailles, Ky. His 2007 fee is $60,000.—D.S.