Will Malibu remain a Secret after Queen’s Plate?
When conservative conditioner Malcolm Pierce entered MALIBU SECRET in the Vandal S. for his lifetime debut as a juvenile in 2016, it was a sign to me that he thought that he had a very good one in his hands. The son of Malibu Moon finished a strong second in the grassy run to Channel Maker (second choice for the Queen’s Plate), but came out of the race with a shin issue that derailed his progress as a two-year-old prospect.
Dark bay returned in late April in a seven-furlong maiden voyage on the All-Weather oval at Woodbine and validated his conditioner’s belief in his abilities with a fine off-the-pace tally, coming home swiftly to win going away by a wide margin. Malibu Secret then jumped straight to graded foes in the Marine S. (Can-G3), encountering some traffic in the lane as he could only muster a third-place finish. But I thought it was a great prep run for Sunday’s 158th running of the Queen’s Plate S., the first leg of the Triple Crown for Canadian-bred sophomores.
Lightly-raced colt is bred to run all day and could shine in a second two-turn test while making his third race off the layoff. The 10-furlong distance seems ideal for the talented youngster and Malibu Secret has since been equipped with blinkers. If his sharp five-furlong move in :59 2/5 (second-fastest of 38 moves on the day) is any indication, expect a big leap forward from this most intriguing long shot contender in the 13-race field.
Pierce remains concerned about his charge’s lack of seasoning. However, the trainer simply doesn’t place horses in races of this magnitude just to see the silks represented nor is he concerned about Malibu Secret’s fitness level. Pierce is and has been a high-percentage conditioner for some time, known as much for his patient approach as his acumen to saddle winners. So given he’s been pointing toward this race since the beginning of the season (possibly before the sophomore ever even raced), I have to trust his judgment and will back his colt.
Malibu Secret is not especially high on everyone’s radar at 20-1 on the morning-line, but will he still be a ‘secret’ following the Queen’s Plate?
John Mucciolo is the Brisnet.com Daily Selections handicapper for Woodbine and his picks are available for the entire 13-race Queen’s Plate Day program