Stonestreet Stables' Kantharos shrugged off a stumble at the break and cruised to a 9 1/2-length victory in the $108,200 Bashford Manor Stakes (gr. III) (VIDEO) for 2-year-olds July 3 at Churchill Downs.
Trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by Robby Albarado, odds-on favorite Kantharos spotted his five rivals a couple of steps at the break as longshots Thewayitusedtobe and Gold for Cash led the field through the first quarter-mile in :21.81.
Midway on the far turn, Albarado sent Kantharos after the leaders and quickly assumed command. The Stonestreet runner was never threatened in completing the six furlongs on a fast main track in 1:09.89. The victory increased Kantharos’ earnings to $95,213 with two victories in two starts.
“For him stumbling and everything, he picked himself up,” Albarado said. “He’s a very athletic colt. He put himself in the race easily. At the three-eighths pole he let know me he was ready and he just sprinted home. Very, very impressive. I felt unbelievable from the eighth pole home. It was nothing for him; the sky is the limit. I don’t know how good he can be.”
Kantharos, bred in Kentucky by Hedberg Hall, is by Lion Heart out of the Southern Halo mare Contessa Halo.
It was the third Bashford Manor victory for Asmussen, who won the race in 2004 with Lunarpal and 2007 with Kodiak Kowboy. Albarado won the race for the second time, having scored in 2003 with Limehouse.
“He’s a very exciting horse,” said Asmussen of Kantharos. “He is a very straightforward horse. John Moynihan bought him out of the March OBS (Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.) sale (for $250,000) from Eddie Woods, and he came into the barn a professional. He’s not made a mistake and his two races so far have been exciting. Hopefully we can make some of the right moves with him because he has a tremendous amount of talent.
“We’ll talk to (owner) Mr. (Jess) Jackson about his next race, but we’ll get him out of the (hot) weather and move north with him.”
Kantharos, who won at first asking by 11 3/4 lengths May 13 on the slop at Churchill, returned $3.40, $2.10, and $2.10 in the Bashford Manor. Runner-up Lou Brissie, ridden by Corey Lanerie, returned $2.20 and $2.10 and finished a half-length in front of Speed Demon, who paid $2.60 to show under Jamie Theriot.
It was three lengths back to Saturday Dance, who was followed by Gold for Cash and Thewayitusedtobe.