Kodiak Kowboy earned a third career win from four starts and gave trainer Steve Asmussen yet another 2-year-old stakes victory when he took Saturday’s $150,000 Bashford Manor (gr. III) (VIDEO) at Churchill Downs by 2 3/4 lengths.
The win was Asmussen's fourth on the card and he swept both juvenile stakes races at Churchill, winning the Debutante (gr. III) with Rated Fiesty two races earlier.
Kodiak Kowboy, a son of Posse bred in Kentucky by Hartwell Farm, went six furlongs in 1:09.15 under Corey Lanerie to get his first graded earnings. Third at the start and placed three wide, he took the lead before the half-mile and slowly drew clear under steady urging. Dr. Nick, outrun early, was fanned six wide entering the stretch and could not catch the leader but finished gamely for the place.
“He broke sharp," said Lanerie. "My horse was just waiting for the call. I tapped him on the shoulder and he about jerked me out of the saddle. From there I just kept him busy. I was just a passenger.”
“You saw it, he’s the real deal,” said Tom Ludt, general manager of Vinery. “He’s getting better and better and I think he’s going to get better with distance. Arguably, he won that pretty easily, he was hand-ridden out so we’re pretty happy. We’re thrilled, it’s great for Posse, it’s great for Vinery.”
Kodiak Kowboy's last start was the five-furlong Victoria Stakes at Woodbine, where he bested the field by two lengths for Vinery Stables June 17. He made his racing debut at Woodbine in a 2-furlong race and finished fourth, displaying his preference for longer distances. This was the colt’s first attempt at the six-furlong mark.
“Every one of his races he’s looked his strongest at the end,” said Asmussen. “He’s got a great disposition. We’ve been aggressive with some of the Posse’s and they’ve been standing up good. He has a lot of quality.”
Kodiak Kowboy will ship to Saratoga along with stablemate Rated Fiesty, winner of the Debutante (gr. III).
"We're aware of the Sanford and the Special being the first two (races for 2-year-olds)," Asmussen said. "We'll likely wait until the second one with him."
Kodiak Kowboy paid $5.80, $3.40, and $2.40 to win. Dr. Nick and Mark Guidry returned $5.20 and $3.60 to place, while Crackalackin, also trained by Asmussen, paid $3.80 to show under Jamie Theriot.