Santa Anita will play host to the final Grade 1 races of 2020—the Malibu S. (G1), American Oaks (G1), and the La Brea S. (G1)—when the Arcadia, Calif. track kicks off its meet on Saturday, Dec. 26, and Kentucky-breds figure to have a say in the outcome of all three Grade 1 events.
Kentucky-breds headline the marquee event on the program as Grade 1 winner Charlatan and up-and-coming Nashville are the morning-line favorites in the $300,000 Malibu S. at seven furlongs. The pair of talented colts, both sons of Speightstown, enter the Malibu off promising starts to their careers. Nashville, who set a track record (1:07 4/5) at Keeneland in his most recent start in winning the Perryville S. at Keeneland on the Breeders’ Cup undercard, was bred in the Bluegrass by Breffini Farm. The bay colt, a $460,000 Keeneland September graduate, is owned by China Horse Club and WinStar Farm and is trained by Steve Asmussen.
Charlatan, winner of a division of the Arkansas Derby (G1) in May (before later being disqualified) has been sidelined with an injury. He romped in his two previous starts, both at Santa Anita for trainer Bob Baffert. The chestnut colt is making his first start since the Arkansas Derby for owners SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stable, Stonestreet, Fred Hertrich III, John Fielding, and Golconda Stables. Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings bred Charlatan in Kentucky out of the Quiet American mare Authenticity and he was sold through Denali Stud for $700,000 at Keeneland September.
Kentucky-breds Independence Hall, by Constitution, and Express Train, by Union Rags, are also in the Malibu field. Bred by Woodford Thoroughbreds, Independence Hall races for Eclipse Thoroughbreds, Twin Creeks Racing, Kathleen and Robert Verartti. Dixiana Farms bred Express Train who is campaigned by C R K Stable. The historic Malibu is being run for the 74th time.
Ten of the 11 runners entered in the $300,000 La Brea S. hail from Kentucky, including morning-line favorite Finite. The multiple Graded stakes winner is a daughter of Munnings owned by Winchell Thoroughhreds, Thomas Reiman, William Dickson, and Deborah Easter. Bred by co-owner Winchell Thoroughbreds, Finite won the Chilukki S. at Churchill Downs in her most recent start for Asmussen on Nov. 21.
A pair of Kentucky-bred fillies by American Pharoah also figure prominently. Merneith, a stakes winner at Keeneland last time out, is the second-choice on the morning line, and Kentucky-bred Himiko is coming off a 6 ½-length romping win at Del Mar.
In the $300,000 American Oaks (G1) at 1 ¼ miles on the turf, Kentucky-bred Duopoly will be taking on an international field. The daughter of Animal Kingdom scored in the Winter Memories S. at Aqueduct on Nov. 15 for owner Klaravich Stables and trainer Chad Brown. The chestnut filly was bred by Jamm LTD.