Cat Genius held off a late charge from Mountain General to win the $125,000 Pelleteri Breeders' Cup Handicap by a ahlf-length Sunday at Fair Grounds.The running time for six furlongs was 1:08.83, tying the stakes record set a year ago by Beau's Town. It was also the fastest time at the distance this meet.Ridden by Fair Grounds' leading rider Robby Albarado, Cat Genius, who went off the 2-1 favorite, displayed his usual early speed, leading the field through a blistering half-mile in :43 3/5. Despite the hot pace, the 4-year-old son of Western Cat turned away challenges by Captain Thunder and Out of My Way to open up a clear advantage into the stretch.Mountain General, the top sprinter at Fair Grounds a year ago, put in his closing bid, charging up the rail and splitting the tiring Captain Thunder and Out of My Way. Cat Genius drifted out slightly inside the sixteenth pole, but quickly recovered to hold off Mountain General by a half-length at the wire.Mountain General's rider, Shane Sellers, claimed foul against the winner, but the stewards made no change in the order of finish."He got off a little tardy, but his second step, he recovered," said Albarado, who won his 11th stakes race of the season, matching his total of 2002-03, one shy of the Fair Grounds record of 12 set by Ronald Ardoin 10 seasons ago. "He was very content. Even though he was going awfully quick, he was very kind. He felt some heat at the three-eighths pole, and he ran on in the stretch. He could have taken a step out, but I don't think it hindered the outcome of the finish. (Mountain General) was coming, but I don't think he would have gotten to him today."
The win was Cat Genius' second of the current meet for trainer Tom Amoss and his sixth overall in 13 career starts. He improved his earnings to $259,786 for owner John Parker.
Mountain General was three-quarters of a length clear of Aloha Bold, who picked up the pieces late to be a non-threatening third."We had a little rain and it quickened the track a bit, but I don't want to take anything away from the horse," said Albarado. "He's a good horse, and he's that fast."Cat Genius paid $6, $3.40 and $2.80. Mountain General returned $3.60 and $3.40. Aloha Bold's show was $3. The $2 exacta was worth $20.20.