ARCADIA, Calif. (March 31, 2013)—Idle since well beaten in the Grade I Travers Stakes at Saratoga Aug. 25, Liaison came back running in Sunday’s $70,000 Santana Mile, defeating favored Midnight Transfer by a half length while getting the distance in 1:36.36.
Ridden by Martin Garcia, Liaison broke sharply from post position three and sat a comfortable third behind Hoorayforhollywood and Tres Borrachos through fractions of 23.74, 47.52, 1:11.80, 1:24.03, and overtook Tres Borrachos passing the eighth pole—only to be immediately engaged by Midnight Transfer and Rafael Bejarano.
“He’s a good horse,” said Garcia. “Sometimes he breaks a little slow, but today he broke sharp. I let those other two horses go and he was very comfortable in third. When it was time, I asked him and he really ran hard. When that horse (Midnight Transfer) came to us on the outside, he really dug in.”
Off as the third choice in a field of five older horses at 7-2, Liaison paid $9.00, $4.20 and $2.80. Trained by Bob Baffert and owned by Arnold Zetcher LLC, Liaison picked up $42,900 for the win, increasing his earnings to $631,794. A winner of the Grade I CashCall Futurity at two, the 4-year-old Kentucky-bred colt by Indian Charlie now has an overall mark of 13-4-1-3.
“He’s been working well for this,” said Baffert. “…We had him pretty cranked for today. He ran a great race, he showed some fight, and coming off a long layoff like that makes me think he’s gonna be a good handicap horse later on.”
Midnight Transfer, off at 6-5, trailed early and appeared full of run three wide off the turn for home.
“My horse came running at the end, and I thought he was going to get it but Liaison took off to win,” said Bejarano. “It was a good race, no excuses.”
Midnight Transfer finished 1 ¾ lengths in front of Tres Borrachos and paid $2.80 and $2.40.
The second choice at 3-1, Tres Borrachos overtook Hoorayforhollywood at the 3/16 pole and was third best under Garrett Gomez, finishing 3 ¼ lengths in front of “Hooray.”
Tres Borrachos paid $2.80 to show.
Live racing resumes on Thursday, with first post time at 1 p.m. Entries for Saturday’s Grade I Santa Anita Derby will be taken Wednesday.