Bill Callis' Cat Shaker, sent off at odds of 38-1, ran down the loose pacesetter Daddy Joe in the $100,000 Rushaway for 3-year-olds at muddy Turfway Park Saturday as 2-5 favorite Proud Accolade failed to fire.
Ridden by Joe Bravo, Cat Shaker defeated Daddy Joe by three-quarters of a length in a time of 1:44 2/5 for the 1 1/16-mile event. Catch Me ran a distant third, finishing 6 3/4 lengths farther back.
Winning trainer Craig Callis has only had his license for six months.
"I knew he had it in him," said Callis. "Joe Bravo did what I asked him to do. He waited until the three-eighths (pole) to make his move. The last couple of races he moved at the half [mile] and was out of gas. Today Joe got him to relax down the backstretch.
"We'll run next in the Lexington (Stakes at Keeneland April 23). I feel very fortunate. I'm a bit surprised we beat Proud Accolade."
Cat Shaker had just a maiden victory to show in eight previous starts. The Kentucky-bred Catienus
colt, a $2,300 Fasig-Tipton buy in October 2003, is trained by Craig Callis. He was fifth, beaten by 7 1/4 lengths in his last start, the Battaglia Memorial at Turfway March 5.
Cat Shaker was eighth down the backstretch and into the far turn but made up big ground along the inside and between horses to emerge from the pack in mid-stretch. Cat Shaker ran down a wearying Daddy Joe in the late stages.
Daddy Joe, Norberto Arroyo aboard, led throughout while setting fractions of :22 4/5, :46 2/5 and 1:11 1/5. He was clear by three lengths in upper stretch.
Catch Me was in striking distance into the stretch but tired late.
Proud Accolade, with Jerry Bailey riding, tracked the leader in mid-pack a couple of paths off the rail. On the turn, Bailey edged the grade one winner out for a run at the leaders, but after making a brief bid, he fell back as Cat Shaver shot by on his way to victory.
Pletcher entered Proud Accolade in the Rushaway Stakes on the undercard because the colt missed some training due to a minor illness after winning the Hutcheson Stakes (gr. II). He was held out of the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) as a result.
"He looked like he didn't like the dirt in his face or the off going," Pletcher said. "He never really got in his rhythm."
Cat Shaker, who is not nominated to the Kentucky Derby, paid a whopping $79.80, $33.40 and $20.60. Daddy Joe returned $14.40 and $14.80 while completing an $887 exacta. Catch Me was $7.60 to show.
Next came Melissa's Comet, Stormy Afternoon, Proud Accolade, Broke Sharply, Sterlingprospector, Spinfire and Raving Rocket. Mad Adam and Pinpoint were scratched.