to open his career with three straight wins, provided another impressive performance
on Monday in the Grade 2, $150,000 Saratoga Special, pulling away a 7 ¼-length
Kantharos had won decisively at Churchill Downs in his prior outings,
rolling to a 11 ¾-length debut score on May 13 and overcoming a stumbling start
to air by 9 ½ lengths in the Grade 3 Bashford Manor on July 3.
Off as the prohibitive favorite in the Saratoga Special, Kantharos was
bumped by Bail Out the Cat at the break and rated in third as Blue Right By
carved out an opening fraction of 22.25. After moving in unison with Bail Out
the Cat to challenge for the lead with a half mile to go, Kantharos claimed
supremacy at the eighth pole and was geared down late as he drew off in the
“I had watched both of my colt’s previous races and in one
race he was actually behind horses for a ways, so I just let him get up on his
feet, let him build, and let him show me the way,” said winning jockey
Garrett Gomez, who picked up the mount from the injured Robby Albarado.
“I let him tell me what to do and at what time. If you watch his first
two races, this is probably an identical re-run of both. I just tried to sit up
there, be the best passenger and stay out of his way to let him do his job.”
Kantharos, who returned $2.30 for a $2 win wager, covered the 6 ½
furlongs in 1:18.63 over muddy, sealed main track. A son of Lion Heart who was
bred in Kentucky
by Hedberg Hall, Kantharos earned $90,000 for his victory in the Saratoga
Special and has banked $185,213 to date.
“[Garrett] said that during first 50 yards he wasn’t on the
bridle much at all, but after he went a little ways he got into himself,”
said Steve Asmussen, who trains Kantharos for Stonestreet Stables. “I
thought that he came into the stretch well. He hesitated a little bit when he
first left [Bail Out the Cat], but late he really looked good and smooth and
like he’ll go further, which is what everybody wants to know right now.
What he’s done at these sprint distances is very impressive and
brilliant, but we want to be greedy and get a little bit more.”
Manchurian High finished third, 11 ¾ lengths behind the runner-up, and
was well clear of Blue Right By, who completed the order of finish.