KETTLE ONE KING'S BISHOP STAKES | PURSE: $500,000 | 3-YEAR-OLDS | GRADE 1 | 7 FURLONGS
Alex and JoAnn Lieblong's The Big Beast jumped up from allowance company to Grade 1 competition and did not disappoint his connections Aug. 23, running down pacesetter Fast Anna with powerful strides to ace the $500,000 King's Bishop Stakes at Saratoga Race Course by a neck.
Despite being floated six wide off the turn, the 3-year-old son of Yes It's True rallied gamely and came charging down the stretch to overpower the front-runner in the final yards of the seven-furlong King's Bishop. It was just his fifth career start and his third win in a row for trainer Tony Dutrow. Final time was 1:22.35 on a fast track.
Fast Anna, out of Eclipse Award winner Dreaming of Anna, was off alertly and quickly opened to about a two-length lead while getting easy fractions of :22.88 seconds and :46.05 seconds. Sneaking off the turn with Wildcat Red giving chase and The Big Beast still back third out on the outside, the frontrunner seemed to have a chance at prevailing.
But The Big Beast was just getting into full stride and cut into that rival's advantage while drifting back in through three-quarters in 1:09.77, getting up in the final jumps to secure the win. Coup de Grace, favored at 2-1, had to steady briefly inside and could only manage third after closing from far back.
Off at odds of 5-2 under jockey Javier Castellano in the field of eight, The Big Beast returned $7.70, $4.60, and $3.20. Fast Anna brought $8 and $4.70 while holding second, as Coup de Grace brought $2.80 in third. Noble Moon, Wildcat Red, Noble Cornerstone, Myositis Dan, and C. Zee completed the order of finish.
Bred in Maryland by Green Willow Farms out of the Deputy Minister mare V V S Flawless, The Big Beast was purchased by his connections for $150,000 from the Ends Well consignment at the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s 2013 spring sale of 2-year-olds in training. At the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale he sold for $32,000 from James M. Herbener Jr.'s consignment to Steve Long Thoroughbreds.
Unraced as a 2-year-old, The Big Beast made his debut March 29 with a neck miss in a maiden special weight going six furlongs for trainer Steve Hobby. Shifted to New York and the barn of Tony Dutrow, he was third in another maiden race going the same distance. Sent to the front June 8 at Belmont once again going six furlongs, he was coaxed along on an uncontested lead and drew off to win by 4 ¼ lengths. His next victory in allowance company was by 6 ¼ lengths in a wire-to-wire romp.
The King's Bishop victory improved The Big Beast's earnings to $415,500 for a 3-1-1 record from five starts.