Speightstown's brilliant 3-year-old colt Charlatan won Saturday's $300,000 Malibu S. (G1) at Santa Anita Park in convincing style, coming back from a seven-month layoff to score by 4 1/2-lengths.
Charlatan is Speightstown's fourth Grade 1 winner of 2020, which is the most of any sire standing in North America, and is his 10th graded stakes winner of the year.
Charlatan had been away from the races since winning the Arkansas Derby (G1) by six lengths, a race he was later controversially disqualified from purse money, a decision that is currently under appeal.
At the break Nashville quickly assumed command and flew through fractions of :21.81 and :43.95, with Charlatan just a length behind. The two came on even terms with a quarter mile to run. Nashville offered little resistance as Charlatan pulled away in the upper stretch, then was eased up in the final sixteenth when the win was assured.
“They were rolling early, there was a really good horse he was chasing,” said winning trainer Bob Baffert. “With what this horse has been through, I'm just happy for the whole team and everybody involved, to show he is a really special horse. Hopefully, we will have a good (2021) with him. That was an incredible performance off the layoff.”
Charlatan broke his maiden at first asking at Santa Anita on Feb. 16, winning by 5 3/4 lengths going six furlongs. He then won a one-mile allowance race at Santa Anita on March 14, drawing off by 10 1/4 lengths. He races for a partnership of SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Stone Stable, Frederick Hertrich III, John D. FIelding and Golconda Stable and is now 3-0-0 in four starts and has earned $247,200.
Charlatan, who sold to his owners for $700,000 at the 2018 Keeneland September Yearling sale, was bred in Kentucky by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings. He is out of Authenticity, winner of the La Troienne S. (G2) and Shuvee H. (G3).