The June 1 Aristides Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs was a revival of sorts for 4-year-old colt Scatman. Trained by Bill Mott, JEOG Racing’s son of Scat Daddy captured his first graded stakes over the sloppy Churchill track, the scene of his last win, this past November. Scatman showed promise as a juvenile: he had broken his maiden at Keeneland in his third start, won an allowance/optional claiming race at Oaklawn Park in his fourth, and followed that up with a second-place finish in the Southwest Stakes (gr. III) and a third in the Rebel Stakes (gr. II). All this might have hinted at a Triple Crown campaign, but a pair of disappointing finishes in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) and the American Turf Stakes (gr. II) dispelled any such considerations and the colt was given the summer off.
The owners’ feeling it was “just time for a change” Scatman began training with Mott and recorded back-to-back victories in his first two starts back at Keeneland and Churchill before moving to Mott’s Payson Park stable for the winter. Unfortunately, he didn’t take to the track at Gulfstream Park and finished unplaced in three starts there. Back in Kentucky he scored thirds in allowance/optional claiming races at both Keeneland’s and Churchill’s spring meets before winning gamely in the Aristides.
Scatman’s owners, Jim and Ellen O’Grady of JEOG Racing, purchased the colt’s mare, Hit It Here Cafe, in 2009 while carrying the Aristides winner. Scatman wasn’t any trouble as a youngster, except for a small biting habit that still persists—“He bit my husband before the race,” shared Ellen O’Grady. A daughter of Grand Slam out of the Strawberry Road mare Strawberry’s Charm, Hit It Here Cafe had two previous foals: a colt by Johannesburg in 2007 and another by More Than Ready in 2008. After producing a colt by Flatter in 2010, the O’Gradys sold the mare in 2011, in foal to Eddington. The North Carolina couple is clearly excited about their first stakes win but has no concrete plans for Scatman’s future.
Scatman is one of eight stakes winners this year for Scat Daddy, who now counts 15 added-money winners from progeny, which includes Lady of Shamrock (gr. IT) and Handsome Mike (gr. II). He stands at Ashford Stud near Versailles, Ky., for a fee of $30,000.—M.P.