Good luck to our Kanthaka Partners! Their colt tries to stamp his ticket to the Kentucky Derby in Saturday’s $1,000,000 Blue Grass Stakes (G2) at Keeneland.
The lone California invader in the full field of 3-year-olds, the Jerry Hollendorfer trainee comes into the Blue Grass off a third-place finish in the San Felipe Stakes behind division leaders Bolt d’Oro and McKinzie. He became a graded stakes winner in just his third career start with a powerful win in the San Vicente Stakes (G2) in just his third career start.
“He is used to big fields,” Jerry’s assistant Dan Ward said, referring to the 14 horses slated to go in the gate Saturday. “There were 12 starters when he broke his maiden, and he had lots of trouble in that race. You look at the head-on shot, and he falls on his head coming out of the gate,” Ward said. “He lost his position, and it is hard to gain ground at Santa Anita when that happens. Plus, those were two pretty good horses (Bolt d’Oro and McKinzie) that finished in front of him.”
After flying from California directly to Lexington on Tuesday morning, Kanthaka has settled in beautifully at Keeneland. He’s schooled in the paddock and at the gate and couldn’t look any better.
Napping on Friday afternoon:
“It’s amazing how my factors popped up in the days leading up to entries,” said West Point president Terry Finley. “We thought about staying home and running in the Santa Anita when McKinzie defected, but felt it best not to butt heads with Bolt d’Oro and Justify. We thought about cross entering both the Wood Memorial and Blue Grass, but the flight schedule prevented us doing that since the flight to Kentucky was on Tuesday. We know the Blue Grass is the tougher of the two spots, but Jerry Hollenodorfer said it best, ‘We want him to take us to the Derby, we don’t need to take him there.’”
The West Point buying team purchased Kanthaka at the 2017 Barretts Sale held at Del Mar. By Jimmy Creed, he’s out of the Noonmark mare Sliced Bread. Partner John Haines named the colt after Siddhartha’s (who later became Buddha) horse who was held in very high esteem.
Kanthaka breaks from post 4 under two time Blue Grass Stakes winner Julien Leparoux. Post time for the Blue Grass is 6:23 ET.
West Point Partners celebrating Kanthaka’s win in the San Vicente: