Making his first start in stakes company, The Big Beast ran down pacesetter Fast Anna late to win the Grade 1, $500,000 Ketel One King's Bishop Stakes at Saratoga on Saturday.
Fast Anna broke sharply, setting the early tempo. The Big Beast, who led start to finish in his last two starts, settled back third, waiting until mid-stretch to make his move and getting up to win by a neck.
Javier Castellano was aboard the winning Anthony Dutrow trainee, who paid $7.70 for a $2 ticket. Fast Anna finished ahead of Coup de Grace in third.
The final time was 1:22.35 for seven furlongs.
Coming off two big wins at Saratoga, The Big Beast scored his third win in five lifetime starts. He is owned by Alex and JoAnn Lieblong.
“He's the biggest horse I've ever trained, and everybody loves him,” said Dutrow. “I learned from my days with Bobby Frankel, when your horse is really, really good not to waste a race. You need to make these races count when your horse is really good. Our horse was really good today, and we saw no reason not to take a crack at the very best.”
“[Taking back] was part of the strategy, to come from behind,” Castellano said of his winning ride. “This is the first time he went seven-eighths, and we wanted to monitor it. He's a big horse. I thought he could go the distance, and I'm happy with the way he did it. The way I handicapped the race, there was a lot of speed inside me with Wildcat Red and Fast Anna. I didn't want to hook them in a speed duel. I could have gone to the lead, but he rated so beautifully.”
Bred in Maryland by Green Willow Farms, The Big Beast is by Yes It's True, who stands at Three Chimneys Farm, and out of stakes-placed V V S Flawless (Deputy Minister). He was purchased at OBS April last year for $150,000.
Runner-up Fast Anna was also making his stakes debut.
“He ran a great race, he tried so hard,” said Kathy Ritvo, trainer of Fast Anna. “I'm proud of him, I'm happy with the way he ran.”
Noble Moon finished fourth, followed by Wildcat Red, Noble Cornerstone, Myositis Dan, and C. Zee.
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