One of the announced key American hopes for the 2011 Dubai Golden Shaheen (G1), Smiling Tiger was a game second in the Malibu Stakes (G1) on opening day at Santa Anita. Twirling Candy ran down the front-running third from the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) and won in a final time of 1:19.70 for seven furlongs, breaking a course record set by Spectacular Bid in 1980. Historians beware, however, as Sunday was the first day of a new dirt course making its debut after several years of a synthetic surface. Rain soaked Los Angeles for days in advance of the race and the drying surface provided amazingly fast times all day.
A dearth of pace in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint may have been the death knell for Smiling Tiger in November when third behind lone pacesetter Big Drama, but Sunday’s race, the last Grade 1 of the year for males in America, may have been a touch too long for the colt who opened his career with wins over Tapeta, the same surface in place at Meydan.
Meanwhile, the winner was declared a possible Dubai World Cup starter after the Malibu victory. Stablemate Sidney’s Candy, a winner of the Sir Beaufort (Listed) over one mile on the dirt, could aim for the Godolphin Mile (G2) or Dubai Duty Free (G1).
Watch the Malibu below.