Stanford's class carried the 5-year-old son of Malibu Moon to a track record, 3 1/4-length victory in the $100,000 Challenger S. Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs. The win was the fourth stakes victory overall and upped his earnings to $1,334,360.
Stanford had the lead the entire way in the 1 1/16-mile contest. Sporting blinkers for the first time, he set a moderate pace of :47.06 for a half-mile and 1:11.02 before powering through the stretch to stop the timer in 1:41.75.
“I was comfortable with the way he was doing it,” said Stanford's jockey John Velazquez. “In the lane, I wanted to see how he did in his first time with blinkers. He tends to wait a little bit on horses, so I wanted to see how he did, and he responded really well. Today, with blinkers, he was more focused on what he needs to do.”
Stanford's next start is likely to be the $1.25 million Charles Town Classic (G2) on April 22, a race he won last year.
Stanford is one of six of Malibu Moon's millionaires and is now his second all-time leading earner, behind only 2014 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Orb.