03/14/2008 12:00AM

Kodiak Kowboy wins easily in return


Kodiak Kowboy cruised to a six-length win in his 3-year-old debut on Friday, when he captured a six-furlong optional claiming race in 1:10.21 at Oaklawn Park. He will be pointed next for the $100,000 Lafayette at seven furlongs at Keeneland on April 6, said his trainer, Steve Asmussen.

Kodiak Kowboy ($2.80) was making his first start since finishing third behind Kentucky Derby favorites War Pass and Pyro in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile on Oct. 27. Friday, he tracked the pace in a four-horse field, then easily swept to the lead in the stretch under jockey Luis Quinonez.

"We just wanted to get him back going, try to get him in a rhythm," Asmussen said, "trying to find a prep for the Lafayette at Keeneland. He's won on synthetic, and timing-wise, I just wanted to get a race in him before then."

Kodiak Kowboy raced on Polytrack, the type of surface in place at Keeneland, last June when he won the $127,000 Victoria at Woodbine. His other stakes wins include the Grade 2 Saratoga Special. Kodiak Kowboy races for Vinery Stables and Fox Hill Farm.

* The 11 horses in the ninth race here Thursday, which was declared a no contest after the starting gate was unable to be removed from the track, will each be awarded an equal share of the $35,000 purse, track officials announced.