Cat Cay (on the inside, mostly hidden), catches Tugger to win the Top Flight Handicap.

Cat Cay (on the inside, mostly hidden), catches Tugger to win the Top Flight Handicap.

AP/NYRA/Adam Coglianese

Cat Cay Pounces on Tugger for Top Flight Win

Ogden Phipps' homebred Cat Cay beat pacesetting Tugger by a head in Aqueduct's Friday feature, the 62nd running of the grade II, $150,000 Top Flight Handicap for fillies and mares. Atelier, who like the winner is trained by Shug McGaughey, was third, another 1 1/2 lengths back. The winner returned $8.40, $4.80 and $2.80. Tugger paid $6.40 and $3.50, and Atelier $2.90. Zonk, A.O. L. Hayes, Maddie May, Shiny Band, Latour and Arty'svirginiagirl followed.

After racing well of pacesetter Tugger through fractions of :23; : 46 3/5, and 1:11 4/5, Cat Cay moved through a hole on the inside and snagged the victory at the wire. The win was the third in eight starts this year for Cat Cay, who carried 117 pounds and John Velazquez one mile in 1:35 2/5 on the fast track to earn $90,000.

"I was a little worried going down the backside; Tugger had an easy lead," McGaughey said. "When she can do that, she can keep going. I was afraid once Johnny (Velazquez on Cat Cay) got her in gear that she might hang a bit inside. I thought she would be a different filly all along. In her last two races, she's shown that. I'm glad for her and for Mr. (Ogden) Phipps because I thought the year was going to be good, and it wasn't. Now, she's really come around. She's a group II and group III winner. She had a bad early summer, but all she had to do was work through a couple of little things. I think the break she got after Saratoga helped her. Turning for home, I thought we were going to be 1-2. Atelier is probably going to be better going a distance of ground around two turns. I'm going to give her a little time off and take her down to Florida and point for the Rampart (Gulfstream Park, Grade 2, $200,000 for fillies and mares, 3 and up, nine furlongs, Saturday, March 2nd)."

A daughter of Pleasant Colony produced the Alydar mare Cadillacing, Cat Cay won the Thoroughbred Club of America (gr. III) at Keeneland in her last start previous to the Top Flight.

(Chart, Equibase)