Axelrod Shortening Up For McCarthy As He Seeks First Grade 1 In Malibu

Axelrod, a 3-year-old Florida-bred son of Warrior’s Reward who has raced at a mile or longer nine times in an 11-race career including the mile and a quarter Breeders’ Cup Classic last out on Nov. 3, shortens up to seven furlongs in the Grade I Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita on opening day, Dec. 26.

He has never run at that distance. His only previous sprints came on turf going 6 1/2 furlongs on Santa Anita’s hillside course in April and May.

“Obviously seven-eighths is something new for him,” said Michael McCarthy, who trains Axelrod for owners Slam Dunk Racing, Madaket Stables LLC or Michael Nentwig. “They’ll run every step of the way (referring to the speed in the Malibu), and I don’t see that as a problem for him.

“It’s the last Grade I one of the year exclusively for 3-year-olds and we need to take advantage of it,” McCarthy added.

Axelrod has four wins, including two Grade 3 victories in the Indiana Derby at Smarty Jones at Parx. He finished second to Malibu rival McKinzie in the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby at the Philadelphia track. He then finished ninth behind Accelerate in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. John Velazquez is riding Axelrod for the first time in the Malibu.

Axelrod worked four furlongs Dec. 20, as did Pegasus World Cup-bound Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner City of Light. Axelrod was clocked in 48:20, City of Light in 47.40. “I’m very happy with both horses,” McCarthy said.

The post Axelrod Shortening Up For McCarthy As He Seeks First Grade 1 In Malibu appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

DYFD Winter - 300x90

Comments are closed.