NEW YORK — Governor Malibu came up from Florida to post a 2 1/2 length victory Saturday at Aqueduct in the $100,000 Gander Stakes for 3-year-olds bred in New York.
The gelding, who was wintering at the Payson Park training center, improved to 2-2-1 in five starts with his first stakes victory. Never worse than second, Governor Malibu wrested the lead from the pace-setting Sudden Surprise in deep stretch and steadily widened his advantage.
Trainer Christophe Clement had targeted this race more than a month ago and Governor Malibu delivered in his first race wearing blinkers.
"Most likely he's going back to Florida now," said Clement's assistant, Christophe Lorieul. "Since his last race he had been a little bit lazy, so we added the blinkers to put him more in the race."
Manny Franco was aboard for the one mile, 70 yards in 1:44.48.
Governor Malibu paid $11.20, $4.50 and $2.90.
Sudden Surprise held on for second, returning $3.90 and $2.70.
Taoiseach was third, paying $4.