ARCADIA, Calif. -- M One Rifle finally finished his job in a major race in Saturday's $300,000 Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita.
After placing in two stakes at the Oak Tree meeting here in the fall, M One Rifle led throughout the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes, recording the biggest win of his eight-race career.
Ridden by Mike Smith, M One Rifle ($16.20) ran seven furlongs in 1:21.04, finishing 2 1/2 lengths in front of runner-up Misremembered, the 2-1 favorite.
Breaking from the outside post in a field of 13 3-year-olds, M One Rifle was allowed to set fractions of 22.98 and 45.28 seconds -- modest for a Grade 1 sprint in California -- and was not challenged through the stretch.
Trainer Bruce Headley said he was not convinced that M One Rifle was a winner until the sixteenth pole, but loved the gelding's trip.
"I loved it because I wasn't pressed on the rail," Headley said. "When you have the 1-hole, you have to run every jump. In these races, you have to have everything go right."
The win gave Headley his first victory in a Grade 1 since Street Boss won the Bing Crosby Handicap at Del Mar in July 2008.
Misremembered, the winner of the Swaps Stakes and Indiana Derby earlier this year, closed from sixth in the final furlong to finish a neck in front of Papa Clem, who was second early.
M One Rifle won the second stakes of his career in the Malibu. He won the Real Good Deal Stakes for statebreds at Del Mar in August, and was later second, beaten a nose, in the California Cup Sprint and third in the Damascus Stakes during Oak Tree. In both of the Oak Tree races, he had the early lead and was caught late.
M One Rifle has won 4 of 8 starts and $378,572.