Stonestreet Stables’ Kantharos, who turned in the summer’s most impressive juvenile stakes performance last out, returns to face four rivals in the $150,000 Saratoga Special (gr. II) Aug. 16.
The son of Lion Heart romped by 9 1/2 lengths in the July 3 Bashford Manor (gr. III) going six furlongs at Churchill Downs to remain undefeated in two starts. The chestnut colt scored by more than 11 lengths in his career debut on the slop at Churchill in May. Robby Albarado rode the Steve Asmussen trainee in those two starts, but with the injured rider on the sidelines Garrett Gomez will take over the mount on the 122-pound high weight. They will break from post 5 in the 6 1/2-furlong contest.
“He’s a real smart horse; he has a good mind for a 2-year-old,” said Barbara Banke, who owns the 4-5 morning-line favorite with her husband, Jess Jackson. “I think he’ll run a good race, and we’re hoping a lot of people will turn out to see him.”
Bred in Kentucky by Hedberg Hall and out of the Southern Halo mate Contessa Halo, Kantharos was a $250,000 purchase at the OBS selected sale of 2-year-olds in training.
Trainer Rick Violette will saddle either Bail Out the Cat or Sovereign Default for Klaravich Stables and William H. Lawrence. He has named Alan Garcia on both horses in the coupled entry. Bail Out the Cat broke his maiden in his June 10 debut at Belmont before finishing sixth in last month’s Sanford (gr. II), while Sovereign Default made a winning debut in his only start July 15 at Belmont.
“We have at least one potential star in here, and the horses who just broke their maidens need to confirm how good they are,” said Violette. “The horse who finished third in Sovereign Default’s race nearly won the other day, and the runner-up races tomorrow.”
Rick Dutrow Jr. will send out Wetzel for IEAH Stables. The Successful Appeal colt broke his maiden at first asking at Keeneland before finishing fourth in the Kentucky Juvenile (gr. III) at Churchill April 30. He was previously trained by Asmussen for Heiligbrodt Racing before being sold.
$150,000 Saratoga Special (gr. II, Race 3, 2:06 p.m.), 2YO, 6 1/2 Furlongs (Dirt) PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer 1. Bail Out the Cat (KY), A Garcia, 118, R A Violette, Jr.
2. Wetzel (KY), R A Dominguez, 118, R E Dutrow, Jr.
3. Sovereign Default (FL), A Garcia, 118, R A Violette, Jr.
4. Manchurian High (FL), F Lenclud, 118, W Phipps
5. Kantharos (KY), G K Gomez, 122, S M Asmussen
6. Blue Right By (KY), C H Borel, 118, D Stewart