11/27/2010 7:54PM

Santiva holds off rivals in KJC win

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Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
Santiva (center), with Shaun Bridgmohan up, wins the Kentucky Jockey Club.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Rare is the horse who captures a Grade 2 race to lose its maiden condition, but that's what Santiva did Saturday in emerging best in a thrilling three-horse finish to capture the $165,000 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes under the lights at Churchill Downs.

With Shaun Bridgmohan riding for trainer Eddie Kenneally, Santiva fought off a persistent outside challenge by heavily favored Astrology and an inside run by Major Gain to win for the first time in four career starts. A Giant's Causeway colt, Santiva was coming off a runner-up finish in the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland and was making just his second career start on dirt.

"He just ran a phenomenal race today," said Bridgmohan. "Every time I asked him for a little more, he gave it to me."

Astrology, the 7-10 choice off his win in the Oct. 31 Iroquois Stakes, was a half-length back in second and a head in front of Major Gain in the field of seven 2-year-old colts and geldings.

Santiva, owned by Tom Walters, returned $11.60 as third choice after finishing 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.31 over a fast track. The colt will be based at the Palm Meadows training center this winter with Kenneally, who is his third trainer.

The victory capped a big closing weekend for Bridgmohan, who on Friday won the Grade 1 Clark Handicap by disqualification on Giant Oak. The KJC win was the second for Bridgmohan, following the 2005 running with Private Vow.

Golden Rod: Kathmanblu runs off with it

Earlier Saturday, in daylight, Kathmanblu moved abreast of Missyoulikecrazy turning for home, then pulled away with authority to take the 67th running of the $163,800 Golden Rod by 8 1/2 lengths. Suave Voir Faire was another 1 1/4 lengths back in third, while Aide, the 8-5 second choice, was fourth of seven fillies.

Kathmanblu was making just her second start on dirt after beginning her career with a poor outing in a June sprint at Churchill. Since then, she had progressed rapidly on turf, winning the Jessamine at Keeneland before finishing third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. Her trainer, Ken McPeek, was clearly wowed when walking into the winner's circle. "We'll probably take her back to the grass," McPeek said while rolling his eyes and smiling.

Kathmanblu, a Bluegrass Cat filly owned primarily by the Five D Thoroughbreds of Bill Dobozi, returned $4.60 after finishing 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.48, considerably faster than the KJC. She will move soon to Florida and point to the Kentucky Oaks.

The winning margin was the largest in the Golden Rod since Silverbulletday won the 1998 renewal by 10 lengths.

The KJC and Golden Rod anchored the second "Stars" program of the meet, a 12-race card exclusively for 2-year-olds. In other "Stars" races:

* Brethren ($4.40), a half-brother to 2010 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver, remained unbeaten in two starts by sweeping to victory under Garrett Gomez in a $61,058 allowance going a one-turn mile, finishing in 1:36.78. Brethren, bred and owned by WinStar Farm and trained by Todd Pletcher, is by Distorted Humor out of Supercharger. The colt was coming off a maiden win at Belmont Park.

* Victoria's Wildcat ($6) and Winchill ($35.80) were winners in first-level allowance sprints, while Bellaridge ($19.40) upset 2-5 favorite Hailey d'Oro in the filly counterpart to the mile allowance later won by Brethren.

* There were quite a few long-priced maiden winners on the day, including Daylasoul ($18.40), Shackleford ($52), Depeche Chat ($22.40), and Plainview ($21).

The 21-day fall meet ends Sunday with a sendoff to the recently retired Mine That Bird and a 2011 calendar giveaway. First post both days is 12:40 p.m. Eastern.