Churchill Downs Racing Report: Caught by Surprise
Updated: Thursday, November 21, 2002 12:19 PM
Posted: Saturday, November 16, 2002 7:43 PM
Published in the Nov. 23 issue of The Blood-Horse
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Caught in the Rain wins the Mrs. Revere Stakes at Churchill Downs.
The self-proclaimed "little fish" caught the big prize. Ron Perozzi's Caught in the Rain gamely fought back to take the lead in deep stretch, then held off favored Glia by a neck to win the Mrs. Revere Stakes (gr. IIT) Nov. 16 at Churchill Downs.
Perozzi, of Sewell, N.J., was on hand to watch the first horse he's ever sent out under the Twin Spires, having driven eight-plus hours from the Philadelphia area with his friend John Gioia, arriving in Louisville "on empty." Perozzi said, "Oh my God. Johnny, wake me...pinch me," as the two floated from the winner's circle presentation to the president's room for a victory glass of champagne. Perozzi, who used to be in the "tuxedo and limousine business," is the owner of Big Daddy's Famous Crabcakes restaurant in Sewell, about 12 miles outside Atlantic City. While he may be a big name in the seafood business in South Jersey, he was the "little fish in the big pond" in the $173,700 Mrs. Revere.
Caught in the Rain, a dark bay or brown filly by Petionville, was a 32-1 dark horse against a strong field. Trainer Bill Mott had three well-bred fillies in the race; the nation's leading trainer, Bobby Frankel, had the favorite; and the multiple stakes-winning Bedanken figured to be double-tough in the 1 1/16-mile race. At the wire, though, it was Caught in the Rain, under Eddie King for Philadelphia Park-based trainer Guadalupe Preciado, that taught them all a lesson in toughness in winning the Mrs. Revere in near darkness under overcast skies in Louisville.
"If you're not living on the edge, then you're taking up too much room," Perozzi said regarding his taking a shot against such revered company. The homebred filly had disproved her odds a couple of times as of late. Following some time off after a hairline fracture was discovered in her right front cannon bone, she won the Mrs. Penny Stakes for Pennsylvania-breds on Oct. 5 at 31-1. Prior to the Mrs. Revere, she won a non-winners of two "other than" event at Aqueduct at 16-1. "We wanted to believe," Perozzi said of the filly before each start. His dream has become a reality.
Caught in the Rain was saddled by local trainer Dale Romans while Preciado stayed at Philadelphia Park.
Always having a forward position in the Mrs. Revere, King kept his filly a little wide while stalking the pacesetting Stylelistick through splits of :24.75 and :50.07 over the yielding going. Pin Oak Stable's Bedanken was to her outside in fourth, with Heyahohowdy in third on the hedge. Glia was bogged down toward the back of the pack under Javier Castellano.
Stylelistick began a retreat after six furlongs, and Caught in the Rain took over, but was collared by Bedanken to her outside at the head of the lane. Bedanken, under Don Pettinger, got the lead before the eighth pole, and had a half-length on her longshot rival. Caught in the Rain, however, dug deep, fought back, and drew away from Bedanken in the final 100 yards. Glia came flying late, roaring past Bedanken at the wire by a neck, but ran out of real estate before she could catch Caught in the Rain. The final time was 1:46.25.
"I was in tight on the first turn, and again on the second turn," Castellano said about his ride aboard Flaxman Holdings' Glia. "But once she was clear, she responded."
"We might have been hurt by the outside post position," trainer Donnie Von Hemel said about Bedanken's draw. "It was a little tough, but you look behind her and there were a lot of good fillies."
Perozzi owns the 200-acre Casino Royale Farm near Mays Landing, N.J., where Caught in the Rain was raised. Perozzi, in taking advantage of the state-bred program, foals his mares in Pennsylvania.
In the following day's River City Handicap (gr. IIIT) for older males at nine furlongs, Eugene Dixon's Dr. Kashnikow got his first victory since winning last year's River City. In the back of the pack in the early running, the John R.S. Fisher-trained gelding came flying down the middle of the turf course to just get the bob over 53-1 shot Foster's Landing. Foster's Landing nearly pulled off a similar score to Caught in the Rain's the day before. Forwardly placed, Foster's Landing appeared to be swallowed up by the late runners in the stretch drive, but came again between horses under jockey John McKee and just missed. The final time over the yielding turf course was 1:51.44.
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