With a new trainer and a new jockey, Bertrando will make his first start in eight months today, facing 11 opponents in the seven-furlong Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita.
Second behind A.P. Indy in the Santa Anita Derby, Bertrando was headed for the Kentucky Derby before he was sidelined because of a respiratory infection. Later in the year, his comeback was delayed because of a muscle strain.
Bertrando's owners, Eddie Nahem and Marshall Naify, replaced trainer Bruce Headley with Bobby Frankel and have told Frankel that they want Chris McCarron to ride. Alex Solis rode Bertrando to his three stakes victories.
Bertrando will carry 120 pounds. Others entered in the 41st running of the Malibu are Vying Victor (Martin Pedroza, 120); Star Of The Crop (Gary Stevens, 118), Mineral Wells (Laffit Pincay, 118); Slerp (Adalberto Lopez, 118); Fabulous Champ (Mickey Walls, 116); The Wicked North (Corey Nakatani, 116); Whatcom Warrior (Corey Black, 116); J.F. Williams (David Flores, 116); Disposal (Alex Solis, 116); Lottery Winner (Eddie Delahoussaye, 116) and Never Round (Paul Atkinson, 116).
If all 12 start, the total purse will be $113,600 and the winner will earn $68,600.
The Malibu is the first of the three-race Strub Series for 4-year-olds, which will continue on Jan. 16 with the $200,000-added San Fernando Stakes and will end Feb. 7 with the $500,000 Charles H. Strub Stakes.
Longshot Carterista won the first division of the $50,000 Christmas Day Handicap at Calder Race Course by 1 1/2 lengths Friday.
The second division was won by Bidding Proud, who won by a nose.
Ridden by Michael Lee, Carterista paid $24.80, $10.40 and $7.80. Rinka Das finished second in the field of 11, paying $5.60 and $5.60. Pidgeon's Promise paid $8.40 to show.
Carterista opened an early four-length lead and held on as Rinka Das beat Pidgeon's Promise by a nose.
Carterista, a Florida-bred 3-year-old, has earned $121,640 in six victories this year.
In the second division, Bidding Proud, ridden by Jose Santos, paid $5.80, $3.20 and $2.40. Buckhar, the favorite, finished second and paid $3.60 and $2.40. Plate Dancer paid $2.40 to show.
Bidding Proud and Buckhar were even coming out of the turn for home and matched strides to the finish. Plate Dancer finished 2 1/2 lengths behind.