Kantharos ’ $250,000 price didn’t come close to topping this year’s Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co. March sale of 2-year-olds in training, so he didn’t make big news then. But the chestnut colt already has made a name for himself as a runner and is the early leader in the race for juvenile male Eclipse Award honors.
A son of Lion Heart, Kantharos is undefeated in three races, including the Saratoga Special (gr. II) and Bashford Manor (gr. III) stakes while racing for Stonestreet Stables. The colt, who is trained by Steve Asmussen, broke his maiden by 11 3/4 lengths in his career debut May 13 at Churchill Downs. He then triumphed by 9 1/2 lengths in the Bashford Manor at Churchill July 3 and rolled to 7 1/4-length victory in the Aug. 18 Saratoga Special.
Florida horseman Eddie Woods, as agent, sold Kantharos to Stonestreet at the OBS auction.
“He was a very nice, uncomplicated horse – very straightforward,” Woods said. “He always had a bit of class about him and was remarkably sound. He was just a neat horse.”
Bred in Kentucky by Hedberg Hall, Kantharos was consigned by Indian Creek, agent, to the 2009 Keeneland September yearling sale. Nick Sallusto purchased the colt for Pegasus Holding Group.
Woods got Kantharos to break and train in the Sunshine State late in October of the same year.
“He was a very forward, easy-to-do kind of horse,” Woods said. “He was quite attractive, very well-balanced, and athletic-looking. Everyting was in the right place and in the right proportion. I always thought he was a precocious horse and talented, but I can’t tell you I knew he would become the best 2-year-old in the country. He was very quick and a good mover.”
During the first session of the under tack show for the OBS March sale, Kantharos worked a quarter mile in a brisk time of :21 2/5.
“I think two years earlier, we would have got a lot more than $250,000 for him just because the jury was kind of out on Lion Heart again,” Woods said. “Everybody had had a few of them (Lion Heart’s offspring) by then, and people were looking for a newer, shinier object. That’s the same reason why Lion Heart got sold abroad. But the price (for Kantharos) was fine and still a bit of good business because he was an $80,000 yearling.”
Based on his experiences prepping Kantharos to be sold, Woods believes the colt can stretch out beyond the sprint distances. So far, Kantharos has not raced beyond 6 1/2 furlongs.
“I don’t think it’s guaranteed that he’s going to go two turns,” Woods said. “You couldn’t guarantee it with his dad either, but he did. His dad was second in the (2004) Kentucky Derby (gr. I) to Smarty Jones, and he (Lion Heart) didn’t look like a horse that was going to be that kind of horse. He (Kantharos) resembles his sire a lot in that way. He rates kindly, and he’s not speed crazy. Ridden the right way, he’ll go farther.”