Illinois Derby (gr. II)

(gr. II , 9f ,)

COWTOWN CAT (CH h, 122 lb) $300,000
Distorted Humor —Tom's Cat , by Storm Cat
B—Gulf Coast Farms Bloodstock LP, KY.; O—WinStar Farm and Gulf Coast Farms; T—Todd A. Pletcher

Reporting for Duty (CH h, 122 lb) $100,000
Deputy Commander —Expanse , by Distant View
B—James Devaney, KY.; O—Zollars, Cathy and Bob; T—Steven M. Asmussen

Bold Start (DK B/ h, 122 lb) $55,000
Jump Start —Dorky , by Flying Paster
B—Nordic Thoroughbreds, KY.; O—Lawrence E. Carroll; T—Kenneth G. McPeek

Margins: 2¼, ¾, 3¾. Others: Sacrifice Bunt 122($30,000) , Catman Running 122($15,000) , Quite Acceptable 122 , Cobalt Blue 122 , Family Talk 122 , Love Dubai 122 . Winning Jockey, Fernando Jara.

Jerry Bailey of Gulf Coast Farms Bloodstock was right on the money when he picked out Cowtown Cat as the best 2004 foal bred from the 115 mares he owns with partner Lance Robinson.

The now 3-year-old colt proved his capabilities on the racetrack when he turned in an impressive front-running performance in the April 7 Illinois Derby (gr. II) at Hawthorne Race Course. Trained by Todd Pletcher, Cowtown Cat broke his maiden at 2, and has won three of four starts this year, including the March 10 Gotham Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct.

The son of Distorted Humor is co-owned by Bill Casner and Kenny Trout’s WinStar Farm and Gulf Coast Farms Bloodstock. The commercial venture lead by Bailey and Robinson bred Cowtown Cat in Kentucky.

WinStar went to $1.5 million for Cowtown Cat at the 2006 Barretts March 2-year-old sale where he was consigned by Jerry Bailey Sales Agency, agent. According to Bailey, Gulf Coast had worked out a deal with WinStar before the auction to keep a 50% share in the colt if the operation should be successful in buying him.

Bailey and his wife, Leslie, manage Gulf Coast Farms near Ocala, Fla., where they raise and break the partnership’s yearlings, while Robinson focuses more on mating their mares in Kentucky.

Cowtown Cat was bred from the winning Storm Cat mare Tom’s Cat, who is out of the stakes-winning Meadowlake mare Shouldnt Say Never.

“We love Storm Cat mares,” Bailey explained of why he went to $240,000 for Tom’s Cat at the 2002 Keeneland November mixed sale. The mare, who was in foal to Grand Slam at the time, was consigned to the sale by Eaton Sales, agent.

“We liked her looks a lot, and since we’re in the commercial market, we try to buy horses with good physicals,” he added.

Bailey and Robinson decided to breed Tom’s Cat to Distorted Humor since they already owned shares in the stallion, “and we thought it was a good cross on Storm Cat,” Bailey explained.

In addition to Cowtown Cat, who is Tom’s Cat’s first live foal, the mare also has a 2-year-old El Corredor filly and a yearling Proud Citizen colt. Kept at the Taylor family’s Taylor Made Farm near Nicholasville, Ky., Tom’s Cat is in foal to Five Star Day and is booked to Songandaprayer.

Distorted Humor is the sire of 52 stakes winners, including other 2007 graded added-money winners Forty Niners Son (gr. IIT), Don Dandy (PR-I), and Like It Is (Aust-II). Distorted Humor stands at WinStar Farm near Versailles, Ky., for $225,000.—E.M.