West Coast-based three-year-olds have proven to be among the very best in this year’s sophomore division. With the California-based I’ll Have Another taking the first two legs of the Triple Crown with fellow California horse Bodemeister just behind him, as well as Paynter emerging as perhaps the best three-year-old male with a runner-up finish in the Belmont Stakes (GI) and a win in the Haskell Invitational (GI), it has been clear that California three-year-olds are leading the way. Will next year be the same? Over the weekend, a pair of two-year-olds at Del Mar suggested it just may be.
Last summer, a colt that brilliantly broke his maiden at Del Mar impressed me greatly, thus joining my watch list so that I could keep track of him. That colt was Secret Circle, eventual winner of not only the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint, but the Southwest Stakes (GIII) and the Rebel Stakes (GII). This year, one of the first two-year-olds to catch my attention at Del Mar was a colt by the name of Capo Bastone.
Sent off as the favorite in a field of nine, the John Sadler trainee found a position near the back of the pack as the horses galloped down the backstretch. As a brisk quarter mile of 21.66 was set, Capo Bastone remained eleven lengths off the lead, inching up along the rail as the horses moved around the far turn.
The colt had reached mid-pack by the time the field began to turn for home, but was forced to swing wide off the final curve. Garrett Gomez set to work aboard him, setting his sights on the two leaders. With an imposing turn of foot, Capo Bastone closed on the two frontrunners, appearing ready to fly by.
However, when Distinctiv Passion veered out, Gomez was forced to pull Capo Bastone to the outside. Despite having to change his course, Capo Bastone’s motivation was not greatly hindered and the chestnut colt continued to fly towards the lead without much urging from Gomez. With impressive ease, Capo Bastone crossed the wire a widening neck in front.
Capo Bastone is a son of the up-and-coming sire Street Boss, who has already proven to be a force to be reckoned with. On the track, Street Boss – a horse based in Southern California – was a spectacular sprinter, winning three graded stakes – three of which were grade ones – and setting two six-furlong track records. Street Boss is of course a son of Street Cry, a top sire known for producing the great champion Zenyatta, as well as the champion Street Sense and eleven other grade one winners. Street Boss has already proven to be a productive sire in his young career, having already sired not only multiple winners, including impressive Saratoga maiden winner Top Tier Lass, but a stakes winner.
Capo Bastone’s dam is the black-type-placed Fight to Love, who has also produced the multiple graded stakes-winning C J’s Leelee. Fight to Love is a daughter of the Secretariat mare Love is Love and the multiple grade one-winning Fit to Fight. Fit to Fight is the broodmare sire of such stakes winners as Blind Date (also graded stakes-winning), Royal Assault, Sales Tax, and Upgrade (also graded stakes-winning).
Capo Bastone displayed not only the ability to overcome trouble and still win with ease, but he also exhibited sheer talent. Though he is not particularly bred for classic distances, he could likely go beyond sprinting distances. Nonetheless, this is a colt to watch.
J. Paul Reddam’s white and purple silks became easily recognizable this year when I’ll Have Another and Mario Gutierrez carried them to victory in the Kentucky Derby (GI) and Preakness Stakes (GI). When they flashed across the Del Mar finish line on Sunday afternoon with a two-year-old named Know More, whispers of the future left the mouths of racing fans. Was this the next I’ll Have Another?
Usually, a horse begins its career in a maiden race – a race in which no horse is yet a winner. Rather than doing so, Know More commenced his racing life in a graded stakes race, the Best Pal Stakes (GII) to be exact. I’ll Have Another ran in this very race as a two-year-old, finishing second behind the eventual grade one-winning Creative Cause. Unlike I’ll Have Another, Know More crossed the wire a victor.
The bay colt broke sharply from the outside stall before settling a few lengths off the pace beneath Garrett Gomez as the juveniles galloped down the backstretch of the six and one-half-furlong event. Showing the ability to rate that many debuting juveniles do not show, Know More began to inch up on the outside as the far turn began.
With steady urging from Gomez, Know More loomed on the outside as the graded stakes-winning Amarish continued to lead. Still with several lengths to make up, Know More began to kick into gear as the far turn reached its end, being asked by Gomez to catch the leaders. Despite running a bit greenly, Know grew closer to Heir Kitty in the final yards before accelerating beautifully to pass him en route to a half-length victory.
Know More’s sire is Lion Heart, winner of the nine-furlong Haskell Invitational (GI) and runner-up in the Kentucky Derby (GI) behind Smarty Jones. Lion Heart is also the sire of Dangerous Midge, winner of the twelve-furlong Breeders’ Cup Turf (GI); Line of David, winner of the nine-furlong Arkansas Derby (GI); and Soul Warrior, winner of the nine-furlong West Virgina Derby (GII). However, he has primarily sired speedy horses, such as the graded stakes-winning sprinters Agave Kiss, Heart Ashley, and Pretty Prolific. Nonetheless, Lion Heart is a son of Tale of the Cat, who, despite being a successful sprinter on the track, is well-known for siring Gio Ponti, a champion who won up to a mile and three-eighths.
Know More is likely to inherit more stamina influence from his dam, Seattle Qui. This mare is also the dam of the stakes-winning and graded stakes-placed Classical Slew. Despite the fact that Classical Slew was successful at sprinting distances, Know More’s broodmare sire is the 1977 Triple Crown winner Seattle Slew, damsire of Astra, Boboman, Dangerous Midge, and Offlee Wild. The sire of Know More’s second dam is Spectacular Bid, who won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes (GI). Interestingly, Know More’s third dam is the dam of the European champion Bakharoff.
He may not be the next I’ll Have Another, but Know More certainly appears to be a very gifted individual. It is not every day that a horse makes its debut in a graded stakes race and prevails. Know More is certainly a colt that has made the watch lists of many racing enthusiasts, including mine.
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