Kentucky-bred Charlatan, winner of the Malibu Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita in his last start, headlines an international field of top-class runners slated to contest the $20 million Saudi Cup at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Saturday, Feb. 20.
Owned by SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Stonestreet Stables, Fred Hertrich III, John Fielding, and Golconda Stables, and bred by Stonestreet Stables, Charlatan has crossed the wire first in all four of his career starts but was placed ninth following a disqualification in last year’s Arkansas Derby (G1). In the Malibu, Charlatan was ultra-impressive, pulling away late for a facile 4 ½-length score. He ran an interior six furlongs in a sizzling 1:08.54 that day, stopping the clock in 1:21.50 for the seven furlongs.
Charlatan, who will be ridden by Mike Smith, is a 4-year-old son of perennial leading sire Speightstown out of the Quiet American mare Authenticity. He was a $700,000 Keeneland September sale graduate out of the Denali Stud consignment in 2018.
The Kentucky-bred contingent also includes Tacitus, Max Player, and Sleepy Eyes Todd. Tacitus finished fifth in the Saudi Cup last year. The Juddmonte Farms homebred son of Tapit has banked more than $3.2 million in his career for trainer Bill Mott and he will be making his seasonal debut in the Saudi Cup after finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) at Keeneland in his last appearance.
Max Player, a son of Honor Code owned by George Hall and SportBLX Thoroughbreds Corp. and bred by K & G Stables, is trained by Steve Asmussen. Winner of the Withers Stakes (G3) in 2020 and third in both the Belmont Stakes (G1) and the Travers Stakes (G1), Max Player finished fifth in his final start at three, and like Tacitus, will be making his seasonal bow in the Saudi Cup.
Sleepy Eyes Todd, a gray or roan son of Paddy O’Prado-Pledge Mom, by Wild Rush, is trained by Miguel Angel Silva. Owned by Thumbs Up Racing and bred by Two Hearts Farm LLC and Kristin Goncharoff, Sleepy Eyes Todd won the Mr. Prospector Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park last December and returned to finish fourth in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (G1) at Gulfstream Jan. 23.
Post time is set for 12:40 p.m. Eastern.