Kentucky-breds showed the way on opening day at Santa Anita, Dec. 26, sweeping the final three Grade 1 stakes of 2020. Charlatan returned in splendid form to win the Malibu S. (G1), Fair Maiden dominated her rivals in the La Brea S. (G1), and East Coast invader Duopoly rolled to a front-running score in the $300,000 American Oaks (G1).

Charlatan, making his initial start since crossing the wire first in a division of the Arkansas Derby (G1) in May, returned with a spectacular performance to win the prestigious Malibu S. Ridden by Mike Smith, Charlatan tracked the early speed of previously undefeated Nashville. He rolled by that rival on the far turn and powered away from the field to score by 4 ½ lengths, stopping the clock for seven furlongs in 1:21.50.

“He is extremely special,” Smith said following the scintillating victory.

Bred by Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings, Charlatan is by Speightstown out of the Quiet American mare Authenticity and he became his sire’s fourth Grade 1 winner of the year. Charlatan was a $700,000 Keeneland September yearling.

Duopoly made it back-to-back stakes wins utilizing the same front-running tactics she used to win the Winter Memories Stakes at Aqueduct Nov. 15 to post a wire-to-wire victory in the 1 ¼-mile American Oaks by two lengths. Campaigned by Klaravich Stables, Duopoly, a daughter of Animal Kingdom, was bred in Kentucky by Jamm LTD. and she is trained by Chad Brown. She was a $160,000 Keeneland September yearling.

Fair Maiden, who started in the 2019 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) a year ago at Santa Anita, relished the return to Southern California. The Godolphin homebred ran away to an impressive 2 ¼ -length victory over a competitive field in the $300,000 La Brea S. The daughter of Street Boss covered the seven furlongs in 1:22.69 for trainer Eoin Harty.

“It was a big question of whether she’d handle the dirt, and she did,” Harty said. “She was super professional (at Churchill) and it gave me a lot of confidence to bring her out here for a race like this.”