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ARCADIA, CA – West Point Thoroughbreds’ Kanthaka gave his owners its 100th stakes win in fine fashion, powering through the far turn and down the front stretch en route to victory in Saturday’s Grade 2, $200,000 San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita.
Sent off from post 5 under Flavien Prat, Kanthaka settled off the rail through the first turn while Ax Man and Mr. Jagermeister dueled on the front end through fast fractions of :22.00 and :44.25. Making his move through the far turn, Kanthaka emerged onto the front stretch running four-wide under a full head of steam, took command just past the 1/8-pole, then kicked clear to hit the wire first by 3 1/4 lengths in a final time of 1:22.62 for the 7-furlong main track sprint.
“He gave me a great run and he did everything right,” said Prat, who picked up his second straight victory following the Grade 3 Thunder Road Stakes one race earlier. “He broke like a bullet, but then we had quite a lot of speed in front of us, so he sat really nicely behind the speed and made a really nice run around the turn, and after that, it was done.”
Second went to Nero, who finished an eye-popping lengths ahead of All Out Blitz in third. The 2/5 favorite Ax Man faded to fourth, which jockey Drayden Van Dyke blamed on the early speed duel.
“I was completely screwed by (Mr. Jagermeister),” Van Dyke said. “He had me down on the rail and he was done at the 3/8-pole, but he kept me in tight. My horse got tired but he never got a breather. I would completely throw this race out.”
Kris’ Rocket Kat was never a factor and finished fifth, 6 lengths ahead of Mr. Jagermeister to complete the order of finish.
Kanthaka’s win improved his record to 3-2-0 with career earnings of $153,440. The 3-year-old son of Jimmy Creed gave Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer his first San Vicente victory in 22 years.
“We thought we had a good chance because we thought a lot of speed would be in there, which there was,” Hollendorfer, who also won the Grade 2 Santa Maria Stakes with Unique Bella two races earlier. “They went 22 and 44, so we thought we might have a chance to close them down. That was pretty impressive.”
Kanthaka returned $24.20 to win, $7.20 to place, and $4.80 to show. Nero brought back $7.80 to place and $5.60 to show, while All Out Blitz paid $5 to show.
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