After being the first in line to taste Game On Dude’s dust in the Californian, Kettle Corn might be looking to make a rivalry of it.
The John Sadler trainee has showed promise, but lacks a certain je ne sais quoi that would make him a standout colt. He has showed up for big races this year, though, and he will be a top challenger in the Gold Cup.
In his first graded stakes race of 2012, the Grade 3 Native Diver Handicap fought the urge to tail the fast pace and patiently waited three lengths back until the top of the stretch. From there, he jumped up to match the leader and outraced him to the wire.
Then came the Grade 2 Mervyn Leroy Handicap.
The field was extremely tough. Kettle Corn faced legitimate challengers like Morning Line, Prayer For Relief, Awesome Gem, and Thirtyfirststreet. Kettle was bumped early and never fully recovered. He had a nice little run to show down the stretch and beat his competition outright.
As mentioned before, Kettle Corn was the closest horse to catching Game On Dude in the Californian early last month. The problem with that accomplishment: He was still more than seven lengths back at the wire. Regardless, Kettle Corn beat a very competitive rest of the field, made a monstrous move at the half mile mark and out raced his challenger to the wire.
Kettle Corn is an intriguing horse. He has shown the ability and the talent to make a big move early to mid-race. The problem is that Kettle Corn doesn’t explode to the wire; he doesn’t seem to have the second gear that Game On Dude has. If there is not a runaway leader down the stretch and Kettle Corn is in that lead pack, there’s a good chance he’ll be able to cross the wire first.