Willie The Cat opened up the new season of racing at Emerald Downs in style on Friday night by matching the 5 ½-furlong world record time of 1:01 1/5.Ridden by Ricky Frazier, Willie The Cat tied the world-record mark set by Silvey's Image on Oct. 24, 1992 and matched by Plenty Zloty on Aug. 18, 1995. Both times were set at Turf Paradise in Phoenix."This horse was just unbelievable today," Frazier said. "I couldn't believe how fast he was running out there. I really felt I had a lot of horse left under me when we crossed the wire. I can't wait to ride him again."Willie the Cat, the 7-5 betting choice in the race, defeated Slewicide Cruise by 7 ¾ lengths and returned $4.80 for the victory.After starting his career a perfect three-for-three, the 5-year-old Willie The Cat had made just two starts over the previous 22 months due to injuries. .However, he appeared to be his old self as he set lightning fast fractions of :21 1/5, :43 2/5 and :55."He broke well today," said Tim McCanna, who trains the son of Delineator. "He's just been training incredibly. We were really looking forward to seeing how he did tonight."
Willie The Cat, owned by Ron Crockett, Inc., improved his career to 4-0-0 from six starts with $35,118 in earnings.