07/09/2016 8:19PM

Kasaqui's late surge in Arlington brings first stakes victory

Four-Footed Fotos
Kasaqui wins the Arlington Handicap on Sunday.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – Six-year-old Kasaqui won his first stakes with a powerful finish in the Grade 3 $125,000 Arlington Handicap on Saturday.

Getting a beautiful trip from third under Robby Albarado, Kasaqui came three wide for the stretch drive and mowed down the two horses in front of him, Go Around and Roman Approval, the latter staying on for second. Messi, far back in the early going, made a nifty middle move to reach contention, but could not quite quicken with the top two, though he caught Go Around for third.

“Every step of the way he was there for me,” Albarado said. “He took off turning for home.”

Off a slow quarter and half in 24.90 and 50.15, Kasaqui blitzed his final furlong and a half in 16.84 seconds. “Believe me, we were flying,” said Jose Valdivia Jr., who rode Messi. Kasaqui was timed in 1:55.62 for 1 3/16 miles on firm turf and paid $8.40 to win.

This was a better trip for Kasaqui than the Wise Dan Stakes last out at Churchill, where a lack of pace forced Kasaqui to the lead. Pleuven came to him in mid-stretch and beat Kasaqui into second.

“It wasn’t right for him last time, the trip,” said trainer Ignacio Correas, who won the third stakes race of his career. “He needs a target, otherwise he gets bored. At the 3/8 pole today, I told my son he was a winner as long as he had the class. He proved that he had it today.”

Kasaqui’s trip in the Wise Dan wasn’t ideal, but it was much better than in his previous start, the Grade 1 Turf Classic, in which Kasaqui fell hard to the turf at the end of the far turn. Correas sent him to a farm for a few days after the incident, but Kasaqui escaped unscathed and missed little training.

Kasaqui was bred in Argentina and made his first 13 starts there, winning a maiden race and two allowance races. He was bred by San Francisco de Pilar, the Argentine farm owned by Diane Perkins, who had a long training career in the U.S. and owned Wimborne Farm in Kentucky.

“After my husband died a couple years ago, I sold the farm and moved to Argentina because my family was there - 2 children and five grandchildren,” Perkins said.

Perkins also moved the stallion Lasting Approval with her, and he sired Kasaqui, an intact son of the Alysheba mare, Kemosheba. Kasaqui, his owner and trainer said, is likely to make his next start in the Arlington Million.