Charlatan The Real Deal

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Charlatan | Benoit

Freshly anointed ‘TDN Rising Star’ Charlatan (Speightstown) appears no worse for wear a day after his impressive 5 3/4-length victory in 1:08.85 at Santa Anita Saturday afternoon.

“We knew he was a really fast horse,” said Baffert Monday morning.

Campaigned by SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables and Stonestreet Stables, the 3-year-old reeled off three consecutive bullet works at Santa Anita this winter, including an eye-catching five-furlong move in :59.60 Jan. 22. Prior to Saturday’s debut score, he breezed five furlongs in :1:00.60 (5/50) at Santa Anita Feb. 11.

“His gate works were very impressive,” Baffert said. “He worked one 12 and two from the gate [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.”

A $700,000 Keeneland September yearling, the striking chestnut is out of multiple graded stakes winning and Grade I placed Authenticity (Quiet American).

Armed with an arsenal that includes highly-regarded sophomores ‘TDN Rising Star’ Nadal (Blame), Thousand Words (Pioneerof the Nile) and Authentic (Into Mischief), Baffert is pragmatic regarding his chances at this year’s Triple Crown.

“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.”

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