Bitumen wears down the speed to win Sanford

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

July 23rd, 2016

Showing the kind of versatility likely to help him as he stretches out, Bitumen rallied from off the pace to register a 1 3/4-length victory in Saturday's $150,000 Sanford (G3) at Saratoga.

A romping debut winner at Churchill Downs last month after racing on or near the lead throughout, Bitumen was taken back off the pace in the six-furlong Sanford while Zartera, followed closely by Random Walk and Bay Numbers, set a pressured pace of :22.61 and :45.79.

Under a drive around the turn, Bitumen entered the stretch in fourth under Javier Castellano, but stormed to the lead inside the eighth pole and drew off to win in a time of 1:10.68 over a fast track.

"He was very professional the way he did it," Castellano said. "Handling the dirt very well -- three horses up on the lead with a lot of kickback, it hit him for the first time in the face. You kind of anticipate he wouldn't like it much, but he went through it. He figured it out really quick and turning for home he gave me great acceleration. Very professional."

Owned by Joseph Sutton and trained by Eddie Kenneally, Bitumen paid $3.90 as the odds-on favorite. Random Walk finished second, three lengths ahead of Zartera. Bronson and Bay Numbers completed the order of finish.

Originally a $110,000 Keeneland September yearling, Bitumen was a successful pinhook, bringing $280,000 at the OBS juvenile sale this past March.

Bitumen is by 2003 Horse of the Year Mineshaft and out of Kobla Cat, a Tale of the Cat half-sister to multiple Grade 1 winner Quality Road. Bitumen is himself a half-brother to Grade 3-placed stakes winner Meshell.

The colt's third dam, Grade 2 winner Winglet, reared 1997 champion three-year-old filly Ajina, and his fourth dam was Irish juvenile champion Highest Trump.

(Chelsa Durand/Adam Coglianese Photography)