Cat's Claw has taken every step up the class ladder since her inauspicious beginning, scratching her way up from a maiden special weight victory to a first level allowance score to a listed stakes win in the Aug. 3 Waya Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.
Now the daughter of Dynaformer attempts to land her first graded stakes victory when she faces an expected eight other older fillies and mares in the $150,000 Glens Falls Stakes (gr. IIIT) at 1 3/8 miles over the inner turf course at Saratoga Aug. 31.
The key to Cat’s Claw’s success appears to be a stretch-out in distance. After running well, but unable to win, going a mile and 70 yards, 1 1/16 miles, and 1 1/8 miles, her trainer, Jonathan Sheppard moved her up to 1 1/4 miles and she drew off to a 1 1/4-length win. Her last two starts, both at 1 1/2 miles, have resulted in impressive victories, in which she drew clear in the stretch both times.
In the Glens Falls, Cat’s Claw appears to be the class of the field, with her main opposition likely to come from the ultra consistent stretch runner Watsdachances, who has won or placed in 10 stakes already, including runner-up performances in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. IT), Lake George (gr. IIT), and Lake Placid Stakes (gr. IIT) at Saratoga, and Gallorette Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Pimlico Race Course. In her last start, the daughter of Diamond Green finished third in the WinStar Matchmaker Stakes (gr. IIIT) as the 9-5 favorite at Monmouth Park.
Lady Cohiba, who drew the rail, is entered for main track only, leaving a field of nine, with Cat’s Claw drawing post 7 under Cornelio Velasquez and the Chad Brown-trained Watsdachances, ridden byy Jose Lezcano, in post 8.
Another filly with a big chance is the Chris Clement-trained Irish Mission, a distance-loving daughter of Giant's Causeway who nearly knocked off the boys in the two-mile Belmont Gold Cup, losing by a length to Charming Kitten. She gets reunited with John Velazquez and has a big chance in here, stretching back out in distance after a second in the 1 1/8-mile Matchmaker.
Also dangerous is the Brazilian-bred Viva Rafaela, coming off a second in the Waya for trainer Todd Pletcher. The daughter of Know Heights has plenty of early speed if they want to use it. Javier Castellano has the mount and will break from post 2.
Saratoga Race Course, Sunday, August 31, 2014, Race 6
- 1 3/8m
- Inner turf
- 3 yo's & up Fillies and Mares
- 3:39 PM (local)
|1||1Lady Cohiba (KY)||UNKNOWN||121||Christophe Clement||-|
|2||2Viva Rafaela (BRZ)||Javier Castellano||118||Todd A. Pletcher||-|
|3||3Aigue Marine (GB)||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||120||Christophe Clement||-|
|4||4Emotional Kitten (PA)||Jose L. Ortiz||118||Wesley A. Ward||-|
|5||5Baffle Me (KY)||Rajiv Maragh||118||Mark A. Hennig||-|
|6||6Irish Mission (ON)||John R. Velazquez||118||Christophe Clement||-|
|7||7Cat's Claw (KY)||Cornelio H. Velasquez||118||Jonathan E. Sheppard||-|
|8||8Watsdachances (IRE)||Jose Lezcano||118||Chad C. Brown||-|
|9||9Pleasant Cat (KY)||Alan Garcia||116||Thomas M. Bush||-|
|10||10Caroline Thomas (KY)||Joseph Rocco, Jr.||118||Barclay Tagg||-|