ARCADIA, Calif.: Charlatan tracked favorite Nashville to the quarter pole and then drew off to a 4 1/2-length victory in the $300,000 Malibu Stakes on Saturday at Santa Anitas opening day.
Ridden for the first time by Hall of Famer Mike Smith, Charlatan ran seven furlongs in 1:21.50. Trained by fellow Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, the chestnut colt had been idle since May 2.
Charlatan paid $5.20, $3.60 and $2.60 as the 8-5 second choice.
It was the first loss for Nashville, who had won his first three starts by a combined 24 3/4 lengths for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen. The colt finished fourth behind Charlatan, beaten 8 1/4 lengths as the 6-5 favorite.
There was a really good horse he was chasing, Baffert said. With what this horse has been through, Im just happy for the whole team and everybody involved, to show he is a really special horse.
Charlatan also came into Saturday’s Grade 1 race unbeaten in three starts. However, his most recent victory in a division of the Arkansas Derby on May 2 resulted in a disqualification because of a medication violation. The colt has three wins in four starts and career earnings of $247,200.
Express Train returned $13.40 and $6 at 16-1 odds. Collusion Illusion was a half-length back in third and paid $3 to show at 10-1.
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