Reata's Rocket and Cat On a Cloud scored clear victories in the two divisions of the NATC Futurity at Monmouth Park Saturday.
In the colts and geldings division of the NATC Futurity worth a total of $209,000, Reata's Thoroughbred Racing's Reata's Rocket took down the winner's prize of $125,400 with a determined effort that carried him to the line one length ahead of Ice Man Cometh.
The chestnut colt by Cape Canaveral stopped the timer in 1:09 2/5 for six furlongs over the "good" main track and paid $6.80, $3.80, and $3 as the lukewarm favorite in the field of nine. Ice Man Cometh, second choice in the wagering, returned $4.20 and $3.40. Actin Good ($3.20), the third choice, finished third--a length farther back.
Trainer Joe Orseno bought Reata's Rocket for $95,000 from the Timonium sale of 2-year-olds in May. Chris DeCarlo was aboard for the first time because Joe Bravo, who had ridden the colt in his two previous starts, was in New York.
The colt is the first stakes starter for new owner Al Micallef of Fort Worth, Texas.
The Futurity win was Orseno's third stakes victory this week at Monmouth. Last Saturday, he saddled Jersey Peach, also with DeCarlo up, to win the Jersey Breeders' Handicap, and on Sunday sent out Halos Sailing Sain to take the Formal Gold.
"He's done everything we've asked of him," Orseno said of the winner. "He has gone forward in leaps and bounds. He's a Canadian-bred, so we're going to send him to Woodbine for a $100,000 overnight stakes there November 4. Next year, we'll point him to the Queen's Plate."
In the fillies division of the Futurity - worth $200,000 - Establo Madoca Corporation's Cat On a Cloud dueled for the lead under Eddie Castro and was drawing away at the finish to score by 4 1/2 lengths in 1:09 4/5 for six furlongs over a fast track.
Angel Island, who battled with the winner most of the way, held second by three-quarters of a length over Dinner Break. Chagall, the 13-10 favorite in the field of nine fillies, finished fifth.
Cat On a Cloud, a gray daughter of Smoke Glacken, paid $6.40, $3.60, and $3.60 as second choice and earned a winner's share of $120,000. Angel Island, an 8-1 chance, completed the $60.60 exacta and returned $8.80 and $6.40.
Ronny Werner trains Cat On a Cloud, who is now unbeaten in two starts. The filly broke her maiden at Ellis Park and trained at Churchill Downs before vanning to Monmouth in the care of Rowdy Werner, the trainer's son.
"She showed us a lot in her first start," Rowdy Werner said. "We were expecting a lot from her today, to see what she could do in stakes company. We've been very high on her from the start."