Whoopi Cat worked hard to get past Unbridled Beauty but did so to win the $150,000 Adirondack Stakes (gr. II) at Saratoga on Monday.
The 2-year-old Tale of the Cat filly was under pressure from Edgar Prado but eventually wore down Unbridled Beauty and Jerry Bailey to win the 6 1/2-furlong race by 1 1/4 lengths.
Owned by Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor and trained by Patrick Biancone, Whoopi Cat had broken her maiden July 11 at Belmont by six lengths.
Unbridled Beauty led from the start but could not hold off Whoopi Cat inside the sixteenth pole. She finished second and Eye Dazzler was third. Lokoya, Wild Berry, Pierian Spring and Earthquake Ride completed the order of finish.
Unbridled Beauty took the early lead, sizzling an opening quarter mile in :21 1/5 and a half-mile in :44 3/5 on the muddy track. She was tenacious and dug in, but she was softened up by her own pace and Whoopi Cat kicked in to win in final time of 1:17 2/5.
"She stumbled a little at the start; she was a little anxious at the gate," said Biancone. "The plan was for her to rate like she did the first time. She kicks in when she switches leads. She is very fast, but she has stamina. She is a lovely filly. We'll have to see how she comes back. The Spinaway (grade I, $200,000, 2-year-old fillies, Friday, August 29th) comes back very quickly in 18 days."
Biancone also mentioned as a possible next start the grade I, $500,000 Frizette at a mile and a sixteenth on Saturday, October 4 at Belmont Park.
Whoopi Cat was bred in Kentucky by Richard Giacopelli. She is out of the New Zealand-bred Sky Filou mare Whoopi.
Whoopi Cat ran the distance in 1:17.51 after fast fractions of :21.37, :44.79 and 1:10.67. She paid $4.70, $2.80, and $2.50. Unbridled Beauty returned $3.10 and $2.70, and Eye Dazzler was worth $4.40.