(Charlatan impresses at Santa Anita / Benoit Photography & Courtesy of Santa Anita)

From the Santa Anita Media Team:


     Bob Baffert unleashed another dazzling three-year-old from his seemingly infinite band of blueblood buzz saws when he sent out Charlatan to capture his debut race Sunday, scoring by 5 ¾ lengths under Drayden Van Dyke in 1:08.85 for six furlongs, an eye-opening clocking on a track that has been playing seconds slower through the first 26 days of the Winter Meet.

“We knew he was a really fast horse,” Baffert said Monday morning of the $700,000 son of 2004 Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner and Eclipse champion Speightstown, who had two bullet works among his 12 recorded drills prior to his debut.

“His gate works were very impressive,” Baffert said. “He worked one 12 and two from the gate (on Jan. 22) with an older horse and that tipped them off, but I thought he still might need one. He still looks a little soft, and until they run, you don’t know, but he was pretty impressive.”

Asked his read on his three-year-old crop to date, which includes first division Triple Crown sophomores Nadal, Thousand Words and Authentic, the two-time Triple Crown winner opted to play his cards close to the vest, as is his wont.

“You know what? Right now, I’m still not talking about it too much,” he said. “I’ve got to figure out where I’m going to run them. Everybody keeps asking me every day, ‘What are you going to do?’ I know what I’m going to do, but only I know.

“Things change and I don’t want to jinx them.”


Undefeated Brazilian invader Jolie Olimpica, impressive winner of her U.S. debut in the Grade III Las Cienegas Stakes at Santa Anita on Jan. 11, heads a salty edition of the Grade II Buena Vista Stakes for fillies and mares, four and up, at a mile on turf Saturday.

How salty is it? So salty it flirts with Grade I status and is expected to attract a full field from 18 nominations, with Jolie Olimpica leading the pack.

Favored in each of her four starts, three in her native Brazil, the four-year-old chestnut filly will be favored again and was no secret as the 6-5 choice when she won the Las Cienegas Stakes at 5 ½ furlongs on turf by a length and a quarter despite bobbling at the start.

“She’s been working well and we’re hoping we can do as well going a mile,” said Richard Mandella, trainer of Julie OIimpica for Rick Porter who campaigns as Fox Hill Farms.

Early probables for the Buena Vista: Carressa, Victor Espinoza; Jolie Olimpica, Mike Smith; Keeper Ofthe Stars, Abel Cedillo; La Sardane, Flavien Prat; Meal Ticket, Tiago Periera; Muchly, Umberto Rispoli; Sold It, Mario Gutierrez; and Super Patriot, Ruben Fuentes. All but two of the aforementioned are stakes winners.

     FINISH LINES: Lending further significance to Charlatan‘s big debut win yesterday is the fact that he’s been assigned a whopping 105 Beyer Speed figure. By contrast, the Bob Baffert-trained Justify, who debuted on Feb. 18, 2018, earned a 104 Beyer en route to an undefeated campaign that saw him retired following his Triple Crown sweep . . . With four wins Sunday, including a sweep of the first three races, Flavien Prat joined a jockeys’ race that’s thistight. The Frenchman now has 24 victories, two behind co-leaders Abel Cedillo and Joel Rosario with 26 each. Tied with 19 are Drayden Van Dyke and Umberto RispoliRichard Baltas is the training leader with 19 wins, two more than Bob Baffert and four more than Peter Miller . . .Baffert has Santa Anita Derby winner Roadster ticketed for the Grade II San Carlos Stakes at seven furlongs on March 7. . . Through 26 days, favorites are winning well above the national norm of about 33 percent, at 39.09 (86 out of 22), even higher on dirt, 41.80 (51 of 122) and slightly lower on turf, 35.71 percent (35 of 98). Bridge jumpers are faring well with in-the-money odds-on favorites winning at an 87.50 clip (49 of 56) . . . Restrainedvengence, the best horse in trainer Val Brinkerhoff‘s barn, could make his next start in the $1 million Charles Town Classic on April 18. Restrainedvengence finished fifth behind Midcourt in the San Pasqual Stakes on Feb. 1…It’s all in the jargon–In describing Adam Scott’s two-shot victory in yesterday’s Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club, the LA Times’ Mike James wrote, “Scott proved he was a mudder 15 years ago; he showed Sunday he could outrun the field on a fast track too.” . . . Santa Anita will be dark for live racing Tuesday through Thursday, Feb. 18 through 20, and resume live racing 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21. There will be simulcast wagering Wednesday and Thursday with free General Admission and parking. Admission gates open at 10 a.m.