Liaison breezing at Churchill Downs 4/30/2012.
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Liaison breezing at Churchill Downs 4/30/2012.
Order This Photo

Mallory Haigh

Liaison Turns in Final Derby Breeze

Trainer Bob Baffert said colt definitely deserves chance to run in Derby.

Arnold Zetcher’s Liaison , winner of the 2011 CashCall Futurity (gr. I), breezed five furlongs in 1:00 4/5 under jockey Martin Garcia at Churchill Downs April 30 in preparation for the May 5 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).

The Bob Baffert trainee broke off in company outside workmate Mile High Magic and the duo went through splits of :24 4/5, :37 1/5, and :48 4/5 on even terms. Liaison galloped out ahead in 1:13 1/5 and 1:26 3/5.

“He worked great,” Garcia said. “This horse has been liking this track a lot. I loved the way he worked, the way he handled the track. In the work, he was pulling me. Before, he was always relaxed. He’s one of the kind of horses that doesn’t like to do too much in the mornings, but today he was in the bridle, impressive.”

“That’s the best I’ve seen him work since back before he won the CashCall Futurity,” Baffert remarked. “He’s really taken to the track and today he was pretty competitive with the workmate. He was just gliding over it; I was really happy with him. He really went out well and today he looked more like a Derby horse than he has in the last couple months. I was pretty excited with the way he went and think he definitely he deserves a chance to run in the Kentucky Derby.”

Baffert maintains that the son of Indian Charlie handles the surface at Churchill much better than the one at Santa Anita Park, where he finished sixth in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I).

“He was struggling at Santa Anita; he never worked well there,” he said. “The track at Santa Anita was a little funny for some horses and he struggled with it – it was a little too hard for him. Since he’s been here he’s been like a different horse and he’s moved way up. I’m glad I brought him to give him that chance, give him his opportunity. I’m not thinking he can’t lose, but at least he’s going to be competitive. The mile and a quarter won’t be too hard for him. He’s the kind of horse that likes to sit and come running.”

Bred in Kentucky by the William A. Carl Estate and purchased for $290,000 from Keeneland September yearling sale, Liaison concluded his 2011 campaign with the CashCall Futurity victory, his most recent win. He has won three of seven starts with earnings of $487,560, but has been unplaced in three outings this year, including a fourth in the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II). In his first outing of 2012, the colt clipped heels and lost jockey Rafael Bejarano in the Robert F. Lewis Stakes (gr. II).