08/14/2010 2:54PM

Few line up against Kantharos in Saratoga Special

Barbara D. Livingston
Kantharos will be favored to run his record to 3 for 3 in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Jess Jackson’s current star is Rachel Alexandra. His future star could very well be Kantharos.

A dominant winner of his first two starts, Kantharos looks well-spotted to make it 3 for 3 in Monday’s Grade 2, $150,000 Saratoga Special for 2-year-old males going 6 1/2 furlongs. The Special only drew six runners, but trainer Rick Violette named Alan Garcia on both Bail Out the Cat and Sovereign Default, so he may only run one.

Kantharos, a son of Lion Heart, won his debut by 11 3/4 lengths in the slop at Churchill on May  13. He came back to win the Grade 3 Bashford Manor by 9 1/2 lengths on July 3, overcoming a bobble at the break to get the easy score.

“He came into the barn knowing what he was supposed to do,” trainer Steve Asmussen said. “He was very impressive in every breeze that he had and in both of his races. I’m hoping that trend continues.”

Kantharos is well drawn in post 5, with jockey Garrett Gomez replacing the injured Robby Albarado.

Sovereign Default earned a 94 Beyer Speed Figure winning his debut by two lengths at Belmont on July 15. But Violette said Saturday he is leaning toward starting Bail Out the Cat while holding Sovereign Default out until the Grade 1 Hopeful on Sept. 6.

“He might be going through a little bit of a growth stage here,” Violette said of Sovereign Default. “He might need another week or two to be at his absolute best.”

Bail Out the Cat was a sharp winner of his debut at Belmont, breaking on top, dueling inside of Soldat through fractions of 22.64 seconds and 45.34, before drawing clear to win by 2 1/4 lengths. Sent off the favorite in the Grade 2 Sanford here on July 25, Bail Out the Cat was shuffling his feet and moving about when the gates opened, causing him to break well behind the field. He finished sixth.

“He blew up in the gate right as they sprung it,” Violette said.

Breaking from the rail Monday, Bail Out the Cat will likely be sent to the lead under Alan Garcia.

“We might blast off and if Kantharos wants to hook us then fine,” Violette said. “We might set it up for somebody else.”