Edited Release — Charlatan, who returned to the races after an absence of eight months with a dominating 4 ½-length victory in the Grade I Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita on opening day Dec. 26, will likely make his next start in the world’s richest race, the $20 million Saudi Cup at 1 1/8 miles in Riyadh on Feb. 20, Bob Baffert said this morning.
The winner receives $10 million.
Charlatan had his first workout Saturday since the Malibu, going four furlongs in 49.80.
The four-year-old son of Speightstown was making his first start in the seven-furlong Malibu since crossing the wire on top in the first division of the Arkansas Derby last May 2, only to later be disqualified on a disputed medication violation.
The dazzling chestnut colt has reached the finish line ahead of his rivals by a combined margin of 26 1/2 lengths, an average of better than six lengths per race.
“That’s the plan right now,” Baffert said of the Saudi Cup. “I’ve got another week to make up my mind, but he’d be coming back a little quick for the other race ($3 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park Jan. 23) off a long layoff, and he ran so hard (in the Malibu), I worry about that.
“The thing I like about the Saudi race is it’s a one-turn mile-and-an-eighth and Charlatan is so fast. It’s a challenge, but it’s $20 million.
“That’s a lot of money.”
FASHIONABLY FAST RETURNS IN CAL CUP SPRINT
Fashionably Fast, prepping for this Saturday’s $150,000 Donald Valpredo California Cup Sprint at six furlongs, worked four furlongs this morning in 48.40 under regular rider Tiago Pereira.
“He went fine,” trainer Dean Pederson said. “Hopefully, we’re where we need to be. I had him in 47 and three or four, something like that. Times are irrelevant. It’s not like we’re deciding to run in a maiden 50 or a maiden 20. It will be a competitive race. You just have to hope for the best.
“He had run hard and just needed a little breather,” Pederson added, explaining the gelding’s absence of five months since last Aug. 1 when he finished sixth of eight behind victorious Collusion Illusion in the Grade I Bing Crosby at Del Mar. “I have an owner who’s very cooperative.”
Actually, Fashionably Fast has three owners: breeder John Harris, Per Antonsen and John Nicoletti, for whom Pederson has trained the last 20 or so years.
A six-year-old chestnut son of Lucky Pulpit, Fashionably Fast has a 7-4-2 record from 18 starts with earnings of $490,245.
“Like I say, the horse has run hard for us, he ran his eyeballs out against McKinzie (second in the Grade II Triple Bend last June 7 to the four-time Grade I winner that was recently retired to stud at Gainesway Farm near Lexington, Ky.).”
Prior to the Triple Bend, Fashionably Fast had reeled off six straight victories, four of them in California-bred stakes.
“The Bing Crosby didn’t unfold the way we thought it would and he was a tired horse,” Pederson said. “At that point we decided to give him a few months breather.
“Things have gone well since he came back and if we get beat, we’ll have to get outrun. He’s had several breezes; he hasn’t missed a work.
“One thing about this horse: he doesn’t owe anybody a dime.”
MO FORZA ‘DOING WELL’ FOR RETURN TO RACES
Mo Forza, who missed the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland last Nov. 7 due to “a minor setback,” is recovering and expected to resume his racing career, trainer Peter Miller reports.
“He’s doing really well,” said Miller, who enjoys singular success utilizing serene surroundings at the Bonsall training facility San Luis Rey Downs in San Diego County. “He looks fantastic and we’ll probably bring him back in another 60 days or so.”
Mo Forza, a five-year-old son of Uncle Mo, had won six of his last seven starts including the Grade II Mathis Brothers Mile on grass at Santa Anita last Oct. 3 and Del Mar’s Grade I Hollywood Derby on Nov. 30, 2019.
He was bred in Kentucky by the late Barry Abrams who also owned a share of the bay with Onofrio Pecoraro. He races as OG Boss; Abrams campaigned as Bardy Farm.
SPECIAL MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. DAY RACING ON MONDAY, JAN. 18
Live racing resumes with a four-day race week on Friday, as there will be special holiday racing on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Monday, Jan. 18. Monday’s main event will be the Grade III, $100,000 Megahertz stakes for older fillies and mares at one mile on turf.
Saturday, Jan. 16 is California Cup Day at Santa Anita, with the entire card, including five stakes, dedicated to horses bred or sired in California.
On Sunday, older fillies and mares will go a marathon mile and one half on turf in the Grade III, $100,000 Astra Stakes. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com.
FINISH LINES: San Gabriel Stakes winner Anothertwistafate, nominated to both the $3 million Pegasus World Cup at 1 1/8 miles on dirt and the $1 million Pegasus Turf at 1 3/16 miles, likely will run in the latter, reports trainer Peter Miller, who has engaged Joel Rosario to ride the son of Scat Daddy. Each is a Grade I race at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 23. Miller has both Good With People and None Above the Law ticketed for Saturday’s $200,000 California Cup Derby at 1 1/16 miles. Ricky Gonzalez rides Good With People while Kent Desormeaux has the mount on None Above the Law. Santa Anita’s spotlight is on California-breds Saturday, with five stakes offering $900,000 in purse money . . . There were 178 recorded workouts this morning, including a four-furlong breeze in 48 flat by trainer/breeder Kristin Mulhall’s “Miracle Horse,” Catemaco . . . Mike Smith has been suspended three days (Jan. 16 through 18) for causing interference on Peachtree Road in Friday’s fourth race resulting in a disqualification from second to last . . . The sixth race 50-cent 8-11-12 trifecta payoff yesterday of $31,184.10 technically surpasses the $1 tri record of $52,892.50 set on Sept. 26, 2001 . . . Agent George Bradvica now represents come-backing journeyman Brice Blanc and 10-pound apprentice Emily Ellingwood . . . Morning Line Man Jon White reports the Phil D’Amato-trained Charmaines’s Mia earned a 98 Beyer Speed figure in winning Saturday’s Grade III Las Ciengas Stakes, while Michael McCarthy’s Chilean-bred Sanenus registered a 93 Beyer in taking the Grade III La Canada Stakes…