Cathryn Sophia Romps in Kentucky Oaks

Cathryn Sophia | Coady Photography

Cash is King's Cathryn Sophia (Street Boss), whose connections came close to skipping the race, stormed down the track a much-the-best winner of the GI Kentucky Oaks in front of a record crowd of 124,589 at Churchill Downs Friday. The 'TDN Rising Star' dominated the competition in her first four starts, but faltered when third while trying two turns for the first time in the Apr. 9 GI Ashland S. and it wasn't until the defection of champion Songbird (Medaglia d'Oro) that trainer John Servis committed his speedy filly to the Oaks line-up.

“I'm so happy,” Servis, who captured the 2004 GI Kentucky Derby with Smarty Jones, said. “I saw Javier Castellano had horse [coming into the stretch] and when he inched up three wide on the outside, I knew he had horse. Oh my God, to have the Derby and Oaks on my resume, and to have only run one each time, it's fantastic.”

Cathryn Sophia broke alertly under Castellano and was with the leaders in the early strides before taking up a stalking position in fourth while three wide into the first turn. Terra Promessa (Curlin) tugged her way on the lead through fractions of :23.32 and :47.87. Favored Rachel's Valentina (Bernardini) moved to challenge the pacesetter three wide leaving the backstretch and Cathryn Sophia shadowed that foe while four wide on the turn.

Lewis Bay (Bernardini) snuck through along the inside and at the top of the stretch it was the two Stonestreet colorbearers sandwiched between the GII Gazelle S. winner on the inside and Cathryn Sophia on the outside. Lewis Bay briefly had control, but Cathryn Sophia was kicking into gear and stormed clear to an unassailable lead. Land and Sea (Bellamy Road) closed late to nip Lewis Bay for second, while the lightly raced Go Maggie Go (Ghostzapper) was a head back in fourth after a troubled start.

“She felt like she belonged with this group,” Castellano, winning his first Kentucky Oaks, said. “What a filly! It feels great.”

Trainer Doug O'Neill, who will saddle Kentucky Derby favorite Nyquist (Uncle Mo) Saturday, was pleased with the runner-up effort of Land and Sea.

“She ran a great race for us,” O'Neill said of the filly who made a habit of chasing Songbird home earlier in her career before winning the GII Fair Grounds Oaks last time out. “We are very proud of her. Mario [Gutierrez] said she got away from there a bit slow and he was farther back than he wanted to be. So, he saved all the ground he could and kept plugging. At one point there I thought she was going to be fifth or sixth, but she kept trying and Mario never gave up on her. We are delighted with her try.”

Favored Rachel's Valentina faded to sixth.

“Johnny [Velazquez] said she started slipping away from him at about the three-eighths pole,” trainer Todd Pletcher said of the beaten favorite. “She was in the spot we envisioned for her in the early part of the race, then it just wasn't there at the end.”

Velazquez added, “We were in a good spot; she was cruising for me early. Then when we hit the three-eighths [pole], she started jumping up and down. She just didn't have it.”

Cathryn Sophia, a $30,000 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic yearling purchase, was tabbed a 'TDN Rising Star' after a devastating 12 3/4-length debut victory at Parx last October. She followed up with a 16 1/4-length triumph in the Dec. 5 Gin Talking S. Her sophomore campaign kicked off in stellar fashion with open-lengths wins in the Jan. 30 GII Forward Gal S. and Feb. 27 GII Davona Dale S. She suffered her first loss when coming out third best after battling Rachel's Valentina down the lane in the Ashland, only to have Weep No More (Mineshaft) storm to the win late.

Servis admitted Cathryn Sophia's Ashland effort almost led him to skip the Oaks.

“I don't want to make it sound like we ran from Songbird,” Servis said. “Because, if she would have won the Ashland, we would have certainly run the Oaks with or without Songbird. I had a little reservation when she got beat, when she rolled up there at the head of the lane like she did and then didn't go on. And I had always worried a little bit about how far she would go, just because she's not your typical-looking two-turn horse. And Street Boss is most of a sprinter sire and was a sprinter himself. You always have that in the back of your mind.”

Cathryn Sophia had been training forwardly since the Ashland, including a bullet five-furlong work at Keeneland last week and connections were confident heading into Friday's Classic.

“I talked to John pretty much every day since the Ashland,” said Chuck Zacney, head of Cash is King, which also campaigned 2005 GI Preakness and GI Belmont winner Afleet Alex. “He was just so confident in his filly. I was cautiously optimistic. Every time I talked to him, his confidence was just bubbling over. I think it happened probably about two weeks ago. She did about 11/12 for six furlongs. And he was just thrilled to death. We felt pretty good going into this race. Obviously, an extra 16th was a concern after the Ashland. But the way she was training and all, we felt pretty good.”

Cathryn Sophia, who became Street Boss's fourth Grade I winner, is out of the unraced Sheave (Mineshaft). The mare is a daughter of 2001 GII Golden Rod S. winner and 2002 GI Ashland third-place finisher Belterra (Unbridled)


“I thought my horse ran well. I thought she ran great. She got a good trip saving ground. She just got nailed for second. The winner was clearly best today.” -Chad Brown, trainer of third-place finisher Lewis Bay

“[Jockey Luis Saez] said she had her feet crossed and the starter went to straighten her up and they sprung the latch. All in all it was an impressive performance for the third start in her life to be in a position she had never been going that far and being stuck inside of horses. When she got clear, I thought she was going to get second. She ran a nice race. She got beat a half-length for second.” Dale Romans, trainer of fourth-placed finisher Go Maggie Go

“We came to run well and it didn't work out great. We didn't run as bad as it looked in my opinion. We kind of had a few things go wrong, but we're going to regroup and head to the GI Alabama in midsummer. That's our goal.” Rusty Arnold, trainer of seventh-placed Weep No More

Friday, Churchill Downs
LONGINES KENTUCKY OAKS-GI, $1,000,000, CD, 5-6, 3yo, f, 1 1/8m, 1:50.53, ft.
1–&CATHRYN SOPHIA, 121, f, 3, by Street BossFasig-Tipton-Winner-Logo1st Dam: Sheave, by Mineshaft
2nd Dam: Belterra, by Unbridled
3rd Dam: Cruising Haven, by Shelter Half
'TDN Rising Star' ($30,000 Ylg '14 EASSEP). O-Cash is King LLC;B-Robert T Manfuso (MD); T-John C. Servis; J-Javier Castellano. $564,200. Lifetime Record: 6-5-0-1, $949,720. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Werk Nick Rating: A++.[bullet ad=”eisaman-broken-trained”][bullet ad=”q-j-consignment”][bullet ad=”maryland-shell”]2–Land Over Sea, 121, f, 3, Bellamy Road–Belle Watling, byPulpit. ($42,000 Ylg '14 KEESEP; $130,000 2yo '15 OBSAPR).O-Reddam Racing LLC; B-Jack Swain (KY); T-Doug F. O'Neill. $182,000.[bullet ad=”brookdale-foaled-raised-and-sold-congratulations-to-jack-swain”][bullet ad=”armstrong-larkin-bloodstock-mating”]3–Lewis Bay, 121, f, 3, Bernardini–Summer Raven, by Summer Squall. ($170,000 RNA Ylg '14 KEESEP). O/B-Alpha Delta Stables, LLC (KY); T-Chad C. Brown. $91,000.[bullet ad=”stephensthoroughbreds-grad”]Margins: 2 3/4, NK, HD. Odds: 4.70, 6.40, 5.00.
Also Ran: Go Maggie Go, Mo d'Amour, Rachel's Valentina, Weep No More, Dream Dance, Paola Queen, Terra Promessa, Royal Obsession, Venus Valentine, Mokat, Taxable. Scratched: Dothraki Queen.
Click for the chart, the PPs or the free catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.


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