Favored Feline Story, ridden to well-timed perfection by Edgar Prado, caught a tiring Cologny in the final strides to register a neck victory in the $104,400 Floral Park Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares on a sloppy Belmont Park strip Saturday.
Trained by Stanley Hough for owner Mrs. Paul Robsham, Feline Story, a 3-year-old daughter of Tale of the Cat, snapped a five-race losing streak. She wwas the only 3-year-old in the field.
Breaking a step slowly in the five-horse field, she chased the fast pace set by Cologny and jockey Aaron Gryder while seven lengths off the pace and rallied strongly three wide to catch the weakening front-runner close to home. The time was 1:10 3/5 for the six furlongs on a sealed track.
"She broke bad, but I didn't rush her," said winning jockey Edgar Prado. "I knew the fractions were fast. When I got into my filly left handed she really responded. She gave me another gear."
Travelator, also trained by Hough, finished third, 2 1/2 lengths behind.
Cologny set fractions of :22, :44 4/5 and :57 1/5 while tracked by Travelator, who failed to respond when roused in the stretch.
"I've been having trouble with her at the gate," Hough said. "I took her to the gate three times before this race. She's gotten to fighting in the gate now and she never used to do that. I've got to get her over that."
The size of the field, though, helped Feline Story overcome her initial tardiness.
"At least there weren't that many horses in the race and she could settle," Hough said. "I was hoping for second down the lane, then I said, 'Go on and win.'"
Feline Story paid $4.70, $2.90 and $2.20. Cologny returned $3.30 and $2.20. Travelator, ridden by Cornelio Velasquez, was $2.30 to show. Hidden Ransom and Sensibly Chic trailed.
Feline Story recorded her second win of the year after taking the Legal Light at Delaware April 24. She was coming off a third-place showing in he Victory Ride at Saratoga Aug. 28 after finishing 11th in the Test (gr. I) on a muddy track. Feline Story improved to 3-2-0 in seven tries on off-track. She won for the third time in eight tries at Belmont.
She earned $63,840 for her fifth career win, increasing her earnings to $392,345.
Bred in Kentucky by Eclipse Throroughbreds Inc., the bay filly is out of the Really Secret mare Shappy and was a $140,000 Ocala buy in March 2003.