Arnold Zetcher purchased the bay son of Indian Charlie out of the stakes-winning mare Galloping Gal for $290,000 at the 2010 Keeneland September sale. The colt finished third in his debut, at a mile at Del Mar on September 3, 2011, and broke his maiden a month later going 7 furlongs at Santa Anita. Liaison stalked the pace and won the $100,000 Real Quiet Stakes at Hollywood Park on November 12. He made a significant step forward with a victory in the $750,000 CashCall Futurity, where he again sat back a little bit off the pace and rallied in the stretch.
Liaison was in a contending position in the stretch of the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis on February 4 when he clipped heels and lost jockey Rafael Bejarano. In the Grade 2 San Felipe, Bejarano rode another Baffert colt, Bodemeister, to a second-place finish, while Liaison and Martin Garcia were fourth.
Liaison rebounded from a disappointing sixth-place finish in the Santa Anita Derby with a strong sixth-place finish in the Kentucky Derby.