William C. Schettine's homebred Krampus was determined to cross the wire first in Saturday's Grade 3 Canadian Turf Stakes, the 9-2 choice fending off a late run from 3-5 favorite Breaking the Rules to win by a head. A 3-year-old son of Shakespeare, Krampus ran the final quarter mile in a sharp 22.55 second and covered the mile over Gulfstream Park's firm turf course in 1:34.98. The win gave trainer Bill Mott and jockey John Velazquez a good early start to the Fountain of Youth card.
Krampus, who was coming off a troubled off-the-board finish in the Feb. 9 El Prado Stakes at Gulfstream, received a perfect trip under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, who rated the home-bred gelding in second behind pacesetter Siem Riep, who set comfortable fractions of 24.55 and 48.65 seconds for the first half mile. Velazquez sent Krampus after the tiring pacesetter on the far turn while getting outside pressure from Breaking the Rules and taking a narrow lead into the homestretch. Breaking the Rules, the 3-5 favorite ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., made a stretch-long outside bid but was unable to get past Krampus. Holiday Stone finished third under Manuel Franco.
“This is the kind of trip I was hoping he was going to get. Sometimes he gets a little far back. He makes a nice run but it seems like, when he's up close like this and able to stay up close and get in a nice stalking position, he runs real hard. He doesn't wanna let anybody by,” Mott said. “He's one of those horses, he's really kind of a barn favorite. He's probably not the best horse in the barn but nobody tries harder than he does. You know what I mean? He's a real neat, real neat kind of horse.”
Bred in Kentucky by his owner, Krampus is out of the unraced Rahy mare Midtown Girl. His sire, the pensioned stallion Shakespeare, by Theatrical, was also campaigned in part by Schettine through a pair of Grade 1 turf wins and earnings of over $1.2 million.
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