Saturday, August 23, 2014

Ketel One King's Bishop win marks The Big Beast's talent

The New York Racing Association, Inc.

Saturday, August 23, 2014


Ketel One King's Bishop win marks The Big Beast's talent


By Jon Forbes


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - In late July, trainer Tony Dutrow couldn't help but wonder "What if?" after bypassing the Grade 2 Amsterdam with The Big Beast, who instead won an entry-level allowance by 6 ¼ lengths.


On Saturday, The Big Beast made his stakes debut a winning one, coming from just off the pace set by free-running Fast Anna to win the Grade 1, $500,000 Ketel One King's Bishop for 3-year-old sprinters by a neck.


The Big Beast, a gate-to-wire winner in his past two starts, raced three lengths behind Fast Anna in third as the early leader ran the opening quarter-mile of the seven-furlong race in 22.88 seconds. He drew within two lengths through a half in 46.05 seconds and entered the stretch with Fast Anna in his sights.


Put to a drive by Javier Castellano, The Big Beast overhauled Fast Anna in the final sixteenth of a mile and went on to prevail.


The final time was 1:22.35, with The Big Beast, the 5-2 second choice, returning $7.70 for a $2 win wager.


"[Taking back] was part of the strategy, to come from behind," said Castellano, who went on to win the Grade 1, $1.25 Travers later on the card. "This is the first time he went seven-eighths, and we wanted to monitor it. He's a big horse. I thought he could go the distance, and I'm happy with the way he did it. The way I handicapped the race, there was a lot of speed inside me with Wildcat Red and Fast Anna. I didn't want to hook them in a speed duel. I could have gone to the lead, but he rated so beautifully."


The Big Beast began his career with trainer Steve Hobby, finishing second in a maiden race in March at Oaklawn Park. After being transferred to Dutrow, the strapping colt made two starts at Belmont Park, finishing third in May before breaking his maiden by 4 ¼ lengths in June. Saratoga hosted the 6 ½-furlong Grade 2 Amsterdam and a six-furlong allowance on July 26, and Dutrow opted for the allowance.


Dutrow, who said The Big Beast is the largest horse he has ever trained, had no reservations about having the son of Yes It's True take on Grade 1 competition in his fifth start.


"I learned from my days with [late Hall of Fame trainer] Bobby Frankel, when your horse is really, really good not to waste a race," said Dutrow. "You need to make these races count when your horse is really good. Our horse was really good today, and we saw no reason not to take a crack at the very best."


The Big Beast, who is owned by Alex and JoAnn Lieblong, is 3-1-1 in five starts. He has earned $415,500, including $300,000 for his Ketel One King's Bishop triumph.


Like the winner, runner-up Fast Anna was lightly raced, entering the Ketel One King's Bishop, his third start, off a pair of easy wins at Gulfstream Park.


"[Fast Anna] ran a great race, he tried so hard," said trainer Kathy Ritvo. "I'm proud of him; I'm happy with the way he ran."


Coup de Grace, favored at 2-1 off his win in the Grade 2 Amsterdam, ran on from sixth to finish third, 1 ¾ lengths behind the winner.


"It looked like there was going to be a lot of speed in the race and they had a pretty good pace," said Rosie Napravnik, aboard Coup de Grace. "We kind of just had to maneuver all the way through traffic the whole race. He was really sharp and he ran great, but we didn't have a lot of room to maneuver in the stretch."


Noble Moon, Wildcat Red, Noble Cornerstone, Myositis Dan, and C. Zee completed the order of finish.



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