• The week’s top Beyer speed figure in North America
Santa Anita (Dec 26): Malibu Stakes G1 $300,000, 7f, dirt, 3yo
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Jockey: Mike Smith
Owner: SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Racing LLC et al
Pedigree: 3yo ch c Speightstown – Authenticity (Quiet American)
The Pegasus World Cup and/or the Saudi Cup are now in play for Charlatan after the three-year-old’s spectacular return after an eight-month layoff at Santa Anita on Saturday in the Malibu Stakes.
Cutting back in distance for the G1 highlight, the son of Speightstown could hardly have been more impressive as he ripped apart a good field – among them previously unbeaten speedster Nashville, who seemed to have it all his own way up front before being overwhelmed on the far turn.
Looking value for more, Charlatan went on to record an emphatic 4½-length triumph over late-running Express Train.
A time of 1m21.50s for the 7f produced a Beyer speed figure of 107, the highest of his career and the third time he has smashed up the 100-mark at Santa Anita after Beyers of 105 and 106 on his first two starts in the spring.
Moreover, there is no longer an asterisk against Charlatan’s name as a G1 winner, his Arkansas Derby success on May 2 on his previous outing having been expunged from the records after that infamous positive post-race dope test, blamed on cross-contamination by Baffert.
And to think, Baffert had suggested Charlatan might lack for fitness. “He’s just a brilliant horse,” said the trainer, who added that he felt like a “500lb gorilla” had been taken off his back.
“His only option is the Pegasus, unless I take him to Saudi,” Baffert told the Daily Racing Form.
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