November 29, 2010

Kathman Blu Away the Field

With a handful of graded stakes for the juvenile set this past holiday weekend, it was almost a certainty that one of the youngsters would step up and make a statement. That announcement was delivered loud and clear by a filly named Kathmanblu. Vying for favoritism with Aide, a recent 19 length winner, Kathmanblu rewarded bettors that made her the slight choice by turning the Grade 2 Golden Rod Stakes into a one horse affair. Owned by Five D Thoroughbreds and Wind River Stables, and trained by Ken McPeek, the daughter of Bluegrass Cat powered to the lead at the top of the lane and accelerated away from the rest to the tune of an 8 ½ length score.

Ridden by Julien Leparoux, Kathmanblu looked like a winner from her stalking position every step of the way. She completed the 1 1/16 miles on a fast main track in 1:44.48. The final time becomes more impressive when compared against the final time of the colts, who ran 1:45.31 in the Kentucky Jockey Club. I was not the only one who was impressed with Kathmanblu, the winning trainer also liked what he saw from his young star, and now has an eye on the future. “She is now a big time Oaks prospect,” said McPeek. His Oaks prospect won for the 3rd time in 6 races, and the Golden Rod win was the first on dirt for Kathmanblu in her second try. She had run four consecutive strong races on turf, after debuting in a 4 ½ furlong maiden dirt race in June, including an easy win in the Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland. She followed that up with a 3rd in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf despite a less than smooth trip.

Now that we know Kathmanblu can handle the dirt, and more specifically the same Churchill Downs strip that will host the Kentucky Oaks, she moves up my Oaks list. In fact, she moves way up. Kathmanblu is now third on my list of potential Oaks’ winners, behind only Dancinginherdreams and Awesome Feather. As good as she looked on the turf, Saturday’s performance has me thinking she could be even better on the dirt. Immediate plans include a trip down to Florida for the Winter, where McPeek has planned a little rest for her before getting a couple of races into her in preperation for a return to Churchill Downs. A return that could very possibly see her become our next Kentucky Oaks winner.

Photo Courtesy of Jamie Newell


Jennifer Cook said...

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm relieved to like a horse who has some losses already. Maybe people will not say she's washed up later should she lose again! Expecting perfection from horses we love is inhumane and I'm against it. I am missing Rachel pretty bad as we contemplate the futures of the next crop of 3-year-old fillies.

Brian Zipse said...

There's a lot to be said for imperfection, and the beauty that can be found within.

By the by, Kathmanblu and Rachel Alexandra both won 3 of 6 starts as a juvenile, culminating with an impressive win in the Golden Rod.

Jennifer Cook said...

Interesting. It occurs to me that I might not have been paying close attention to the Golden Rod had it not been part of Rachel's history. Go Kat Go!

Mike in SB said...

I have been wondering for the last few years why todays horses make so few starts and are injured so often. Is it drugs, breeding, modern training methods? Something is wrong. I just read a blog on the Paulick Report about the importance of racing as a 2 year old for development of the race horse. I think the name of the blog is The Science of Horse Racing. Anyway, if they are correct about the advantage of racing as a 2 year old, the fact that Kathmanblu has already raced 6 times as a 2 year old, the same as Rachel, could be a big plus for her next year.

Brian Zipse said...

I enjoy the work that Bill Pressey does over on The Science of Horse Racing, and I actually do put credence in the building up of horses durability as juveniles. A belief seems to be in the minority these days.

Ernie said...

She's small, but she's really good. And classy. Love the omni-surface dependability. FUN