Carl F. Pollard's My Trusty Cat made a last-to-first rally to win the $175,000 Chicago Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. III) for fillies and mares by 1 ¾ lengths over Our Josephina on Saturday at Arlington Park. Rene Douglas rode the Dave Vance-trained daughter of Tale of the Cat, who covered the seven furlongs over a fast track in 1:23.54 and paid $11, $6 and $22.80. The inflated show price was a result of 3-10 favorite Mayo On the Side finishing fourth in the five-horse field. Of the total show pool of $234,122, all but $18,541 was wagered on the beaten chalk. "The strategy was pretty simple," Vance said. "(With) all the speed in the race, I told Rene to take her back. Actually, I knew she'd be last anyway and let her lope along. If she put in her punch she'd be right there." Our Josephina, a 14-1 outsider, set a pressured early pace frombetween horses, getting the quarter-mile in 22.93 seconds and the half in 45.96. Smoke Chaser, who was hugging the rail throughout, made a bid on the turn and put a head in front in the lane, posting a three-quarter split of 1:11.12, but gave way in deep stretch to finish third. Our Josephina returned $12.20 and $34.60 while Smoke Chaser paid $24.60. Mayo On the Side and Rich City Girl completed the order of finish. It was the first graded stakes score for My Trusty Cat, whose previous stakes wins include the inaugural $250,000 Delta Princess as a 2-year-old and the $75,000 Honeybee Stakes at Oaklawn Park as a sophomore. She earned $105,000 to elevate her career earnings to $466,968. Vance indicated that returning the horse to sprint competition seemed to help My Trusty Cat get back on the right track. "We decided to start sprinting her after the distance race at Oaklawn (the Oaklawn Breeders' Cup)," Vance said. "She gets a little aggressive early and she won't finish (in routes). This was her third race going short and I think this proves that's what she really wants to do."
Jockey Eusebio Razo Jr., who rode the Humana Distaff (gr. I) winner Mayo On the Side, felt the quick pace compromised his mare's chances. "If I was asked to find an excuse, I guess it would be that I had to run head-an-head with the other horse." (Chart, Equibase)