Malibu Moonshine, the Maryland-bred champion 2-year-old filly of 2022, found the winner’s circle for the first time since her award-winning campaign on Sunday, Jan. 28 at Laurel Park, when she got up to win the $75,000 Geisha Stakes by a neck.
She was making her 4-year-old debut in the Geisha, originally planned for Saturday, Jan. 20, but rescheduled due to severe weather. Most recently, the daughter of Anchor & Hope Farm stallion Bourbon Courage finished fourth in a second-level allowance at Aqueduct on Nov. 24, her third and final start of her 3-year-old season. In the nine-horse Geisha field, she went off at nearly 7-1 under Angel Cruz, who has ridden her in four of her seven starts.
Breaking well from post two, Cruz immediately dropped her to the rail, the most favorable part of the track, while racing towards the back of the pack. Slight 5-2 favorite Royal Whisper set the early pace, while I’m Gittin There and Northern Glow rated near the leader through a first quarter of :24.59 and an opening half of :48.02.
At the top of the stretch, Royal Whisper maintained a two-length advantage, but the closers were beginning to swarm in. Cruz kept Malibu Moonshine on the rail most of the way and began to draw closer as they passed the three-quarter pole. However, seeing that Malibu Moonshine did not have a clear path to run through, Cruz angled her off the rail and asked her for run in the five-path. The filly maintained her momentum and surged late to get up in the final strides. Northern Glow got up for second, while Royal Whisper finished a head back in third. The final time for a mile over a sloppy main track was 1:40.08.
Owned by Happy Face Racing Stable and trained by Charlton Baker, Malibu Moonshine improved her career record to 4-0-1 from seven starts, with earnings of $218,400, and has been stellar over an off track, winning all three she’s faced. She went a perfect 3-for-3 as a 2-year-old, with wins in the Maryland Juvenile Filly Championship and Gin Talking Stakes at Laurel Park en route to her divisional crown.
Malibu Moonshine was bred by Dr. Ronald Harris Parker, who purchased her dam – the Malibu Moon mare Sunday in Malibu – for $5,000 at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Winter Mixed Sale. A stakes-placed three-time winner from 16 starts, with career earnings of $119,518, Sunday in Malibu has nine foals of racing age, all starters, seven of them winners.
In addition to Malibu Moonshine, Sunday in Malibu is the dam the seven-time winner and stakes earner Faze the Nation (2014, Cal Nation), and stakes-placed Maxine’s Tap Room, a full sister to Malibu Moonshine. Malibu Moonshine also has a pair of younger full sisters: current 2-year-old Malibu Hooch, and a yearling named Malibu’s Rumrunner, foaled on April 15 of last year. Sunday in Malibu was bred back to Bourbon Courage for 2024.