Bluegrass Cat Repels 'Bull, Wins Remsen

(from Aqueduct report)
WinStar Farm's homebred Bluegrass Cat, the 3-5 favorite, withstood a serious threat from Flashy Bull in the deep stretch and drew away from the stubborn challenger to win the 92nd running of the $200,000 Remsen (gr. II) for 2-year-olds at Aqueduct Saturday.

The 1 3/4-length victory in the 1 1/8-mile event gave jockey John Velazquez his fourth winner of the afternoon and trainer Todd Pletcher his third.

Bluegrass Cat took early command of the race from the rail by getting the first quarter mile in 24 2/5 and the half in :49, all the while being shadowed on the outside by 18-1 Flashy Bull and jockey Cornelio Velasquez.

The duo separated themselves from the rest of the field as they went six furlongs in 1:13 2/5, but when it looked like Bluegrass Cat would pull away, Flashy Bull fought back. Finally, Bluegrass Cat surged again late for his third straight victory since losing his first start, hitting the wire in 1:52 1/5 on the fast track.

"He didn't break super cleanly, but he recovered well enough to dictate some reasonable fractions," said Pletcher of his first Remsen victory, which added $120,000 to his North American single-season earnings record of well over $19.5 million.

"He pulled me to the lead," Velazquez said of Bluegrass Cat, a son of Storm Cat. "He got a little scared early. No one wanted to go early, so I had to take it. He's quite a fighter. He was a little spooked at the end of the race when he saw a tire track. But, he's a nice horse, and I look forward to next year."

Velazquez, who also set earnings records this year, won the day's first three races.

Kiaran McLaughlin, Flashy Bull's trainer, saw plenty to build on for the Holy Bull colt

"This was a big step up," McLaughlin said. "We're very happy. He proved he belongs with this kind, and we've always felt this way. We were second best, and we got beat by a nice horse."

Parkhimonbroadway was four and a half lengths back in third, followed by Park Avenue Prince, Fagan's Legacy, Congo King, Pegasusbystorm, and Immersed in Gold.

Bluegrass Cat was coming off a 1 1/4-length win in the one-mile Nashua (gr. III) at Belmont Park Oct. 28.

The winner, who increased his earnings to $213,780, returned $3.20, $2.60, and $2.30.

Flashy Bull returned $8.50 and $4.30.

Parkhimonbroadway was $4.80 to show.

(Chart, Equibase)