Promising 3-year-old colt Kanthaka became Jimmy Creed’s newest American first-crop Graded winner on Jan. 10, engulfing his rivals mid-race and pouring it on down the lane for a 3 ¼-length victory over a top field in the US$200,000 San Vicente S. (G2) at Santa Anita [WATCH
Trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, the chestnut colt put on display his class and his best weapon – a wicked turn of foot and closing punch. He left behind the highly-touted Bob Baffert duo of Ax Man and Nero in the final eighth of a mile, hitting the wire all alone with his ears pricked under jockey Flavien Prat in 1:22.62 for seven furlongs over a fast local main track. The performance earned the fast-rising colt an impressive 99 Beyer Speed Figure, matching the fastest Beyer earned by a 3-year-old so far in 2018.
Kanthaka, who was purchased by owner West Point Thoroughbreds for US$140,000 at last year’s Barretts 2-year-old sale in California, becomes his sire Jimmy Creed’s second first-crop Graded stakes winner. Last summer, 2-year-old filly Spectator impressively won the Sorrento S. (G2) at Del Mar. Jimmy Creed is the only second-crop sire in North America with multiple Group winners, and he’s now a Top 3 sire in his class by cumulative earnings.
The win raised Kanthaka’s earnings to US$153,440 and vaulted him onto the Kentucky Derby trail, where his owners confirmed after the race he would make his next start in a major Derby prep.
“We thought we had a good chance, because we thought a lot of speed would be in there,” said Hollendorfer. “Especially with the way he broke his maiden; he got in trouble, and then still won, so that was pretty impressive.”
In his prior start on Dec. 26 as a 2-year-old, Kanthaka earned his maiden victory at Santa Anita after incurring significant traffic trouble before eventually getting out for clear run and impressively kicking it in to roll by his competition late for the win.
Bred by Spendthrift Farm, Kanthaka is out of the Noonmark mare Sliced Bread. The exciting win Saturday gave popular owners West Point Thoroughbreds its milestone 100th stakes winner – and, now, another very promising colt that could take them to new heights in this year’s Kentucky Derby picture.