07/03/2010 12:00AM

Team Curlin strikes with Kantharos


LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The same owner-trainer-jockey team that earned Horse of the Year honors two straight years with Curlin appears to have another extremely live prospect ready to make it to the national scene.

Kantharos, a 2-year-old colt by Lion Heart, ran off to his second straight easy triumph when crushing five other juveniles Saturday in the 109th running of the at Churchill Downs.

With Robby Albarado riding for the Stonestreet Stable of Jess Jackson and trainer Steve Asmussen, Kantharos stalked a pair of longshot leaders down the backstretch of the six-furlong Bashford Manor, then glided past with ease approaching the quarter pole en route to a 9 1/2-length score. He returned $3.40 as the heavy favorite after finishing in 1:09.89 over a fast track.

Jackson, Asmussen, and Albarado were the principals when Curlin, the all-time earnings leader among North American Thoroughbreds, swept his Horse of the Year titles in 2007-08.

Lou Brissie, the 3-2 second choice who won the Kentucky Juvenile in his previous start, was up for second, a half-length before Speed Demon.

In his only previous start, Kantharos won a May 13 maiden race at Churchill by 11 3/4 lengths. Hopefully we can make some of the right moves with him because he has a tremendous amount of talent, said Asmussen.

Kantharos will soon head to Saratoga, where his renowned Stonestreet stablemate, 2009 Horse of the Year Rachel Alexandra, currently is in training for Asmussen.

The Bashford Manor was run about 12 minutes after Asmussen, who was at Churchill, won the Grade 2 Suburban Handicap at Belmont Park with Haynesfield.