2004 Eclipse 2YO Female: Sweet Catomine

2004 Eclipse 2YO Female: Sweet Catomine
Photo: Skip Dickstein
Sweet Catomine
At the five-sixteenths pole in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I), Sweet Catomine was blocked and in need of racing room. But having to check was no big deal for the daughter of Storm Cat. Corey Nakatani steered her out of harm's way and she rolled by the other 11 members of the field as the crowd at Lone Star Park cheered her on.

With a sweeping move, Sweet Catomine showed just how special she is, crossing under the wire 3 3/4 lengths in front of Balletto and Runway Model. Her winning margin was the largest of the eight Breeders' Cup World Thoroughbred Championships races. Just imagine if she hadn't had trouble along the way.

Sweet Catomine lost her first start, a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special event July 31 at Del Mar. A bit wide in that race, she gained ground under David Flores but was not pushed in the effort. Her connections knew the filly, quite large for a 2-year-old, probably wanted to run longer distances.

They also knew what a high degree of class she possessed, so they did not hesitate to have her make her second start in a grade I race--the Aug. 28 Del Mar Debutante.

Sweet Catomine went off the 3-2 favorite in the Debutante, but only because she was coupled with stablemate Proposed, who owners Marty and Pam Wygod and trainer Julio Canani thought was the better of the two fillies.

Canani and the Wygods were happy to be proven wrong.

Sweet Catomine hopped at the break of the Debutante and was five wide, but when Victor Espinoza asked her for run, she came flying from last in the nine-horse field to win by three-quarters of a length.

Needing one more race to get her to the Breeders' Cup, Canani chose the Oak Leaf Stakes, an 8 1/2-furlong race that would be Sweet Catomine's first attempt around two turns. Canani was confident going into the race, and even more so of his filly's ability when she won that Oct. 2 grade II race by an easy four lengths. The Oak Leaf was the first start for Sweet Catomine under rider Corey Nakatani, who would also be aboard her in the Breeders' Cup.

In Grand Prairie, Texas, during Breeders' Cup week, Sweet Catomine was one of the horses on the backside that caught everyone's eye, and not just because of her size. She trained beautifully for the Juvenile Fillies and the bettors noticed, making her the 2-1 favorite.

With her Breeders' Cup payday, Sweet Catomine finished the year with $799,800 in earnings.

Sweet Catomine was bred by the Wygods and foaled and raised at Alice and Dr. John Chandler's Mill Ridge Farm near Lexington. Her name may come from her dam's name, but it is also "sweet" to note that she was foaled on Valentine's Day. Her dam, the Kris S. mare Sweet Life, is boarded at Mill Ridge where she is again in foal to Storm Cat. She will be returned to Storm Cat in 2005.

The Wygods own more than 100 broodmares, with 25-30 boarded in Kentucky and the others at their River Edge Farm near Buellton, Calif. The couple resides in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.

They raced Sweet Catomine's second dam, the Flying Paster mare Symbolically, until she was claimed from them. When she was through racing, they bought her privately. Symbolically, who was stakes-placed, died in 2004, but not before producing for them stakes winners Pirate's Revenge, Echo of Yesterday, and Caribbean Pirate, all full siblings by Pirate's Bounty, a son of Hoist the Flag who stood at the Wygod's farm..

The bounty of the Wygods' racing fortunes was enhanced Jan. 24, when Sweet Catomine provided them with their first Eclipse Award winner.

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