Malibu Prayer became the third Grade 1 winner of 2010 for Malibu Moon, with her front-running score in the $250,000 Ruffian Invitational at Saratoga on Aug. 1. This was the fourth win in five starts for the 4-year-old filly, who is owned by her breeder Edward P. Evans. And victory made her sire the year's co-leading sire of Grade 1 winners and co-2nd leading sire of Graded stakes winners (6).
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The 2010 filly and mare division is one of the deepest in memory, and distaffers by Malibu Moon will likely have a big impact on year-end honors. Besides Malibu Prayer, Life At Ten, Devil May Care, Sweet August Moon, and Funny Moon are all Grade 1 or Grade 2 stakes winners for their sire, who currently ranks third on the North America General Sire list, with progeny earnings exceeding $5,500,000.
In the Ruffian, Malibu Prayer figured to face a stiff challenge from Unrivaled Belle, who had beaten Rachel Alexandra earlier in the year. And that pair ran 1-2 for the entire nine furlongs, with Malibu Prayer breaking on top and holding a half-length lead after four furlongs in :46.96 seconds. At the six-furlong mark the lead was a length, and when Unrivaled Belle made her move on the turn, Malibu Prayer was up to the challenge, widening her advantage to two lengths in the stretch. The official final margin was 1 3/4-lengths, with a final clocking of 1:48.14.
Malibu Prayer tuned up for the Ruffian with a June 26 victory in Monmouth's Lighthouse S. Her previous graded stakes win came last November in the Chilukki S. (G2) at Churchill Downs.
The $150,000 payday raised her lifetime earnings to $558,026, with a record of 6-3-2 from 12 starts. She is trained by Todd Pletcher.
The Ruffian was being run for the first time at Saratoga. It had been previously contested at Belmont Park. The race is part of the Breeders' Cup “Win and You’re In” series for the Breeders’ Cup Ladies’ Classic (G1).