Best Beyer: Charlatan

• The week’s top Beyer speed figure in North America

Horse Racing Charlatan
Charlatan (Drayden van Dyke): could hardly have started career in more eyecatching fashion.
Photo: Benoit

106 Charlatan

Santa Anita (March 14): allowance race, $57,000, 1m, dirt, 3yo
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Drayden van Dyke
Owner: SF Racing LLC, Starlight Racing etc
Pedigree: 3yo ch c Speightstown – Authenticity (Quiet American)

There may be no Kentucky Derby to shoot at until September but Charlatan is nonetheless leaving quite the impression on the Classic crop.

Having four weeks ago posted the highest Beyer figure among three-year-olds with his 105 on debut at Santa Anita over 6f, the son of Speightstown stepped up two furlongs on Saturday and went one better with a 106 over a mile.

USA: Bob Baffert still best on Derby day as Charlatan and Nadal dazzle in Arkansas

Facing overmatched rivals in allowance company, Charlatan was never headed en route to a 10¼-length victory in a time of 1m36.24s – significantly faster than G1 fillies achieved one race later in the Beholder Mile (1m37.33s).

GIven that he has won his two races by a combined margin of 16 lengths, it is hard to escape comparisons with his trainer’s Triple Crown winner Justify, the first horse since Apollo in 1882 to win the Kentucky Derby without running as a two-year-old.

Charlatan was promoted to clear favourite with some British bookmakers for the Kentucky Derby and under normal circumstances, a recognised Derby prep would be the obvious next step. But as we all know, these are not normal circumstances – and inexperience is unlikely to be an issue if he’s still in the running come September.

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