Willie the Cat, ridden by jockey Ricky Frazier, went wire-to-wire to win the $40,000 Seattle Handicap Sunday at Emerald Downs.The Tim McCanna-trained Willie the Cat covered the 6 furlongs in an impressive time of 1:07 4/5 over the fast track and paid $3, $2.80 and $2.20 as the 1-2 betting choice. He defeated Best on Tap by 1 3/4 lengths."He got a little nervous and stumbled out of the gate," Frazier said. "But he's so fast he was able to overcome it pretty quick."Willie the Cat, a Washington-bred son of Delineator, set fractions of :21 3/5, :44 1/5 and :56 1/5 before crossing the wire. "Once (Best On Tap) came up to him in the stretch, he just opened up," Frazier said. "He's tough on the lead." Willie the Cat improved his lifetime record at Emerald Downs to a perfect 5-for-5. He also won a 5 ½-furlong race in state record time on April 16. "He had to dig really deep today. He was a tired horse afterward," McCanna said. The 5-year-old gelding improved his career record to 5-0-0 from seven starts and increased his earnings to $57,118 with the victory.
Best On Tap, under Ben Russell, returned $6 and $3. Illusive Force paid $3.40 for the show. (Chart, Equibase)