08/16/2007 12:00AM

Kodiak Kowboy scores by three


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - As much experience as Kodiak Kowboy had winning three of his first four starts, he had never been down on the inside before or had to come through horses.

In Thursday's Grade 2, $150,000 Saratoga Special, Kodiak Kowboy showed his trainer Steve Asmussen that those obstacles were no problem. Kodiak Kowboy overcame his rail draw and split horses sweetly in upper stretch en route to a three-length victory over the late-running The Roundhouse. It was 5 1/4 lengths back to Riley Tucker in third.

Betatron finished fourth, but was disqualified and placed fifth for hip-checking Little Nick in midstretch.

Kodiak Kowboy, owned by Vinery Stables and Fox Hill Farm, added the Special to victories in the Victoria at Woodbine and Grade 3 Bashford Manor at Churchill, where he also won a maiden race in his second start.

After stalking the pace in the Saratoga Special from the inside under Shaun Bridgmohan, Kodiak Kowboy ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:15.95 and returned $6.80 to win.

"In his three victories he was just in a perfect three-wide stalking position and took over when they came into it - that's where he happened to be in those races," said Asmussen, whose stable won this race for the third time in the last four runnings. "What I loved today was the fact that down in there between horses, as Shaun had alluded to, he was looking for somewhere to go, and when it opened up he punched through there nicely."

Asmussen said Kodiak Kowboy would be pointed to the Grade 2, $250,000 Futurity at Belmont on Sept 15.

Juvenile sets track record

Earlier on the card, Secret Gypsy, a debuting 2-year-old daughter of Sea of Secrets, won a 5 1/2-furlong race by 6 1/4 lengths while covering the distance in a track-record 1:03.26. She eclipsed the previous mark of 1:03.32 set by Mayakovsky on July 25, 2001.

Secret Gypsy, purchased for $10,000 by trainer Ronny Werner on behalf of owner John Kuehl, broke through the starting gate before the race began.