Malibu Moon got his 83rd lifetime North American stakes winner on Saturday when Lunar Surge came from some dozen lengths off the lead to capture the $100,000 Maryland Racing Media S. at Laurel Park.
The victory was a bit of redemption for the 5-year-old, who finished third in this race last year. Overall, she has finished in the top 3 in 15 of her 17 lifetime starts and has earned $257,050 for owners Jim and Susan Hill.
After a good start, Lunar Surge got shuffled back in the first turn and found herself at the back of the pack going into the backstretch. Jose Ortiz did find his way to the rail, and started his bid with at least a half-mile to run. Steadily advancing along the rail, the duo encountered relatively little trouble until upper stretch, when they had to alter course for a clear run to get to the front. Lunar Surge drove to the front in the final furlong to win by a length, getting the 1 1/8-miles in 1:52.41.
"She broke well but got in trouble on the first turn,” explained Ortiz. “I had to relax her a bit so I took her back and she came out of it good. I tried to save all the ground I could. I had an option to go four or six wide or wait and take a chance on rail. My move paid off. When I cut in and asked her for run, she took off.”
Lunar Surge is Malibu Moon’s first stakes winner of 2015; with 23 winners already this year, the Spendthrift stallion ranks in the Top 10 on this year’s General Sire list.