Kathmanblu Wins Sweetest Chant as First Step to Oaks
Five D Thoroughbreds and Wind River Stables’ 3-year-old filly Kathmanblu was a highly-accomplished 2-year-old with stakes victories on turf and dirt. She set out on her 2011 campaign Saturday with a very professional 1 ¼ lengths victory in the $100,000 Sweetest Chant Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Ridden by jockey Julien Leparoux, Kathmandblu rated in fifth down the backstretch of the one-mile turf test while War Prospector opened up an eight-length lead on the field past fractions of :23.31 and :47.35. After rallying on the outside around the turn, Kathmanblu drove away from her opponents inside the eighth pole to comfortable win over Michael Tabor’s Excited, second in the field of eight 3-year-old fillies. Those two were followed by Gatewood Bell and Wesley Ward’s Nina Fever and Glen Hill Farm’s Holidaysatthefarm in a dead-heat for third, 10 ¾ lengths behind the runner-up.
“Besides the frontrunner, we were all pretty close together and that one (War Prospector) stopped pretty bad, so we were able to get to her pretty easily,” Leparoux said. “I was never really worried. Good horses run on everything and she’s clearly one of them. Turf, dirt – I think synthetic will be fine for her, too. Added distance will be no problem.”
Kathmanblu was McPeek’s third winner of the afternoon and took a positive first step toward her springtime goal of the Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs. The Kentucky homebred daughter of Bluegrass Cat completed her juvenile campaign winning the Golden Rod Stakes (G2) at Churchill Downs by 8 ½ lengths on Nov. 27. She was timed the one-mile Saturday in 1:39.14 over ‘good’ course.
“Julien (Leparoux) said she was struggling with the turf (yielding), but she’s just that good,” McPeek said. “She’s doing so well right now. That’s the last time you’ll see her on turf for a while at least. I want to run her in a two-turn race (dirt) sometime in February someplace. Unfortunately, there isn’t race for her at Gulfstream on that schedule, so we’ll probably look at a race at Oaklawn or Fair Grounds. We’ll nominate to the Gulfstream Oaks (Apr. 2), but several of the owners are from Lexington (Ky.), so the Ashland at Keeneland is another option for her final race before the (Kentucky) Oaks.”