By Alan Carasso
‘TDN Rising Star’ Cathryn Sophia (Street Boss), undefeated and untested in winning her four trips to the post to date by a combined 41 1/2 lengths, worked a half-mile in :48.40 (2/42) Sunday morning at Palm Meadows. She will make her next start in Keeneland’s $500,000 GI Central Bank Ashland S. Apr. 9 and not the GII Gulfstream Park Oaks a week earlier, trainer John Servis confirmed.
“I think we’re going to point for the Ashland for several reasons,” said Servis, who famously conditioned Smarty Jones (Elusive Quality) to wins in the 2004 GI Kentucky Derby and GI Preakness S. “It’s a Grade I, it gives us an extra week and the purse is pretty good.”
Accorded Rising Star status off a towering 16 1/4-length win in the Gin Talking S. at Laurel last December, the Maryland-bred miss tacked on a 5 1/2-length success in the GII Forward Gal S. at Gulfstream Jan. 30 after missing the break slightly. While she got a little lonely and lost some focus in the latter stages of that seven-furlong test, the bay remained on a straight path in her last, a seven-length score in the GII Davona Dale S. over a one-turn mile Feb. 27.
“Oh absolutely,” Servis commented when asked if he’s been encouraged by the filly’s increasing professionalism. “You have to remember, [the Davona Dale] was only her fourth race and in her first two races, she was so far in front, it was easy for her to lose interest.”
Having passed each test thrown at her thus far with aplomb, Cathryn Sophia will be trying two turns and a touch more distance for the first time in the Ashland. But her conditioner believes she will be up to the task.
“When they’ve never done it, you’re always a little bit concerned about it, but the way she’s trained and settling off the pace like she did in her last two races, I’m feeling pretty good about [her getting the two turns],” he explained.
Sunday’s breeze was Cathryn Sophia’s first since the Davona Dale and was topped only by the fleet turf sprinter Manhattan Dan (Big Brown, :48 flat).
“I was very happy with it, just a nice easy maintenance work,” Servis said. “She galloped out super well and came back great.”