ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) Shakin It Up beat Central Banker by a half-length Thursday in the $300,000 Malibu Stakes for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert on the opening day of Santa Anita's winter meet.
Ridden by David Flores, Shakin It Up ran seven furlongs in 1:20.53 and paid $36, $15 and $7.80 at 17-1 odds in front of 30,540. Flores plans to start riding in Singapore on Jan. 1 for six months.
"I was expecting a good pace," Flores said. "The main thing was to get a good start and to place myself where he could relax and just wait for the turn, when I could get after him. And we timed it just right. We closed the year with a good horse."
Central Banker returned $11.40 and $6.40 after taking the lead in midstretch. Zeewat was another three-quarters of a length back in third and paid $5.20 to show in the Grade 1 race.
Baffert's other two entries, 9-5 favorite Flashback and Zee Bros, finished fourth and 10th, respectively.
Co-owned by former Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.) and Mike Pegram, Shakin It Up earned $180,000 for the victory, increasing his career winnings to $367,600. He has three wins in six starts.
"I am overjoyed," said Cardoza, who represented the state's Central Valley. "Mike Pegram is so good for horse racing. He is a champion of a man and one of the best friends I've ever had in life. To do it with him is so special that I can't even put it into words."
In the $300,000 La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, 13-1 shot Heir Kitty won by 1 1/4 lengths over favorite Sweet Lulu. Ridden by Gary Stevens, who began his comeback nearly a year ago, Heir Kitty ran seven furlongs in 1:21.47 and paid $28.20 to win.
In the $200,000 Sir Beaufort Stakes, Gervinho won by a head over longshot Procurement after nearly clipping heels in the Grade 2 race.