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Santin doubles up at Churchill Downs with G1 Arlington Million payday


Santin recorded a second turf G1 success at Churchill Downs this season with a decisive victory in the Arlington Million on Saturday, 13 August.

The Distorted Humor colt, successful for Brendan Walsh over the same nine-furlong trip in the G1 Turf Classic on the Kentucky Derby undercard, ducked right leaving the stalls but soon recovered to race in a close third on the outside of Field Pass and Smooth Like Strait.

Santin moved up to a length second when Smooth Like Strait assumed the running after the first quarter-mile, with Field Pass and Cavalry Charge also taking close order as the front four pulled eight lengths clear down the back straight.

Smooth Like Strait continued to dictate until Santin loomed up on his outside over two furlongs from home. The Godolphin four-year-old established a slender lead at the top of the lane and stayed on gamely for Tyler Gaffalione to assert his advantage just inside the final furlong.

Santin powered clear in the closing strides and hit the line a length and three-quarters clear of Smooth Like Strait, who had also finished second to Space Blues in last season’s Breeders’ Cup Mile. Sacred Life finished a distant third, nearly six lengths further back.

Brendan Walsh said: “Having watched the Beverly D Stakes earlier on, we didn’t think that we needed to be too far away from the lead, and I thought Tyler [Gaffalione] gave Santin an excellent ride.

“Santin showed up on Derby Day and he showed up here again today. He is just a very, very good horse. Even now, he is still inexperienced but we have always thought that he was a special horse. I think he is starting to show that now – he beat a very good horse in Smooth Like Strait and we can’t do any more than that.

“I think this distance is as far as Santin wants to go. He broke his maiden and won his second start at one mile. We found ourselves in several 1 1/8-mile races and he has performed admirably. I think the goal is the Breeders’ Cup Mile. We have a couple of options we’ll talk about how to get there.”

Tyler Gaffalione added: “We were in a good spot. Smooth Like Strait came out a little bit around the turn but I had a lot of horse beneath me. We know how much talent Santin has and he showed that in the Turf Classic and here this afternoon. It’s so special to win this race. Its history speaks for itself and I’m glad we are able to be a part of it.”