Stallwalkin' Dude dueled Loose On the Town in the stretch and overtook his rival in the final sixteenth to capture the $100,000 Tale of the Cat Stakes for a third consecutive year Aug. 11 at Saratoga Race Course.
Stallwalkin' Dude capitalized on class relief gained after a fourth-place finish in the Belmont Sprint Championship (G2) July 8. Trained and co-owned by David Jacobson, Stallwalkin' Dude finished on the board for the third time in his last four starts.
Jockey Paco Lopez sent Chief Lion to the lead and he set fractions of :21.93 and :44.79 through a half-mile. Stallwalkin' Dude, who bumped Candid Desire at the break and raced in fifth at the half-mile mark, angled out in the stretch as Loose On the Town gained the lead from the rail.
Joe Bravo urged Stallwalkin' Dude in the final furlong, and the City Place gelding dug in under a drive to edge Loose On the Town, ridden by Javier Castellano, by a head at the wire. He finished off the six-furlong main-track sprint in 1:09.75.
"He likes to make it exciting sometimes, and he sure did that today," Jacobson said. "When I saw the fractions, he was a little farther back than what we had planned, but I knew he'd be right there. He's a real pleasure to train, and he's very easy to train. He's run so much with so little breaks and he's so fit that you really don't have to do much with him. He's a special horse, and he makes it exciting and he seems to get there every time. He's just figuring it out now. He's got a lot more races left."
Stallwalkin' Dude, also co-owned by Head of Plains Partners, registered his 19th win in 55 starts and is 3-0-1 in five starts at the Spa.
"To be able to knock a race out three years in a row ... he just keeps going," said Bravo, who has been in the irons for the last two Tale of the Cat victories. "He's 7-years-old and you wouldn't think he's older than 3. He's out there fighting and doing great. I thank David Jacobson for holding him together as well as he's done. This horse is a fighter and he's feeling great. Look how he did it today. He came from how far out of it to get up? You have to love the old man. He's a warrior."
Off as the 4-5 favorite, Stallwalkin' Dude improved his earnings to $1,482,852.