Erdenheim Farm's Dr. Kashnikow earned his first stakes win Saturday's at Saratoga, taking the $200,000 Fourstardave Handicap (gr. IIT) by three-quarters of a length. The John Kimmel trainee came into the race after a third-place finish in his stakes debut in the Bernard Baruch Handicap (gr. IIT).
On the firm turf course, Where's Taylor broke from the inside post and sprinted to the early lead under Robby Albarado. Where's Taylor set fractions of :22.50 and :45.06 while tracked by Dignitas Dancer, who raced six lengths back after the opening half-mile. Canadian-bred Dr. Kashnikow raced in fifth position at that point and then sixth after six furlongs run in 1:09.01. The horses bunched up for the stretch run and Dr. Kashnikow proved best in the final strides. Completing the 1 1/16 miles in 1:39.30 under John Velazquez.
"John (Velazquez) did a great job of riding him," said Kimmel. "He found a seam and got through. This has been a tough horse to train. He's had times tying up (cramping), so we changed his program. We changed his diet and we cut (gelded) him. That's turned him around. He had a nice debut here last year. This has been his strongest performance -- by far. I have mixed emotions about this. He was sold two weeks ago to Eugene Dixon. I wanted to run him in the Fourstardave all along, so he let him stay with me for this one."
The win marks the second stakes win in two days for Kimmel, both with horses making their last start in his care. On Friday, the recently sold Pompeii earned a victory in the Personal Ensign (gr. I).
Dr. Kashnikow (El Gran Senor -- One More Breeze, by Mythical Ruler) earned $120,000 for the win, his fifth in eight starts. The 4-year-old gelding debuted at Saratoga last year, where finished second in his first start before breaking his maiden in his second career start. Since then, Dr. Kashnikow has earned three allowance wins, with his only losses coming in an off-the-turf allowance at Belmont Park in June and the Bernard Baruch. Dr. Kashnikow was bred by Stan Dodson.
Dr. Kashnikow returned $15.40, $9.10, and $5.90. Tubrok paid $26.80 and $14.20 and completed the $346 exacta. Aly's Alley was worth $4.90 to show.
Fighting Falcon came home fourth, followed by favored Spindrift, Elite Mercedes, Where's Taylor, Night Patrol, Sir Howard, Bonapartiste, Dignitas Dancer, and Blue Snake. (Chart, Equibase