Liaison wins the Santana Mile.

Liaison wins the Santana Mile.

Benoit Photography

Liaison Shows His Fire in Santa Anita Return

Off since Travers last August, he edges favored Midnight Transfer in Santana Mile.

Idle since he was well beaten in the Travers Stakes (gr. I) Aug. 25, Liaison  came back running in the $71,500 Santana Mile (VIDEO) March 31, defeating favored Midnight Transfer by a half-length at Santa Anita Park.

Arnold Zetcher's Liaison was timed in 1:36.36 for trainer Bob Baffert in the Easter afternoon feature.

Ridden by Martin Garcia, Liaison broke sharply from post 3 in the field of five and sat a comfortable third behind Hoorayforhollywood and Tres Borrachos through fractions of :23.74, :47.52, and 1:11.80. The 4-year-old son of Indian Charlie overtook Tres Borrachos approaching the eighth pole and was immediately engaged by 13-10 Midnight Transfer and Rafael Bejarano. Liaison prevailed from between in horses in deep stretch.

"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 (Midnight Transfer) came to us on the outside, he really dug in.”

Bred in Kentucky by the William A. Carl Estate, the winning bay colt is out of the Victory Gallop mare Galloping Gal.

Off as the third choice at 7-2, Liaison paid $9, $4.20, and $2.80 while increasing his earnings to $631,794. Winner of the CashCall Futurity (gr. I) at 2, Liaison had lost eight straight races since then before breaking through in the Santana Mile. He 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 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 3/4 lengths in front of Tres Borrachos and paid $2.80 and $2.40. Tres Borrachos overtook Hoorayforhollywood for third and paid $2.80 to show. Gladding followed.