There is currently a ten-horse field for the 2016 Belmont Stakes that is largely made of up familiar faces from both the derby trail and the first two legs of the Triple Crown. One new shooter, however, has emerged and that’s Governor Malibu. So who exactly is this horse?
Governor Malibu is the son of Malibu Moon out of Akilana. He is trained by Chris Clement, who won the 2014 Belmont Stakes with Tonalist. The three-year old has posted a record of 2-4-1 in seven races, most recently placing second at the Peter Pan Stakes in an effort that inspired Clement to submit his name for the Belmont Stakes. This is presumably because both are run on the same track.
“When you run so well in the Peter Pan, I had to consider the Belmont Stakes,” Clement stated. “He has never stopped stepping up. We came from a New York-bred stakes in the winter to the [Federico Tesio], which he won but was disqualified. We ran a really good race in the Peter Pan, finishing well all the way to the wire.”
Clement went on to admit that the Belmont Stakes are a rather formidable challenge for Governor Malibu but was adamant in giving the horse a chance. “He wants to go long on dirt, he trains at Belmont, and he belongs to people who really enjoy New York racing. It is ambitious, but I think he deserves a shot at it.”
It’s obvious that the still unproven Governor Malibu will enter the race as a longshot, but it’s not unheard of for those types of bets to come through. D’Tara won at 38-1 back in 2008, while Ruler on Ice claimed the title at 20/1 in 2011. Most recently, Palice Malice won for Todd Pletcher in 2013 at 15/1. While a new shooter in the Triple Crown, it’s important to remember that Governor Malibu will be just one month removed from the Peter Pan Stakes. He is in competition shape. Whether that means it’s enough to challenge a strong three-year old class remains to be seen.