Sweet Catomine stops, scores in Juvenile Fillies
GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas -- Approaching the five-sixteenths pole of the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, Corey Nakatani had to steady Sweet Catomine, the 2-1 favorite, behind a wall of horses.
"I was very nervous," he said.
But as quickly as Sweet Catomine stopped was as quickly as Nakatani was able to get her going again. And when she swept into the stretch, Sweet Catomine was in the clear and three wide. And the race was over.
Sweet Catomine accelerated past Sis City and Balletto inside the final furlong and romped to a 3 3/4-length victory in the Juvenile Fillies at Lone Star Park. Balletto finished second, 1 1/4 lengths ahead of Runway Model. Sis City, the pacesetter, finished fourth.
"She left them in the stretch like she was breathing different air than they were," said Wygod, who along with his wife, Pam, also bred the filly.
It was the third straight graded stakes win for Sweet Catomine, who figures to become the 18th Juvenile Fillies winner to earn an Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old filly.
Sweet Catomine, a daughter of Storm Cat, covered the 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.65, the second fastest of 17 Juvenile Fillies run at this distance. Sweet Catomine returned $6.60.
Corey Nakatani, the rider of Sweet Catomine, had ridden Balletto when she won the Grade 1 Frizette and told Darley Stud Management, the owner of Balletto, he would have liked to have ridden her back but had already committed to Sweet Catomine.
"These are two very special fillies," Nakatani said. "This afternoon we were lucky enough to get the better of it."
Sweet Catomine raced in seventh position and between horses as Sis City and Quiet Honor dueled through fractions of 22.99 seconds and 46.44. Balletto, under Jerry Bailey, was tracking those two down the backside and Sweet Catomine was following Balletto. Nakatani tried to go inside of Balletto, but there wasn't enough room and Nakatani had to check.
"We had a little trouble, obviously," Nakatani said. "Jerry was riding a good race. I was just inside of him and I had to check a little bit, but she's such a good filly she could overcome what happened this afternoon."
Winning trainer Julio Canani had won two previous Breeders' Cup races, but both came in the Mile. This was his first starter in a 2-year-old Breeders' Cup race.
"This is a very special filly," Canani said. "Corey rode her before, so I just said, 'I hope you have a good trip.' "
Bailey, said he enjoyed a good trip aboard Balletto, but his filly just couldn't keep up with the winner.
"She accelerated when I wanted, but did not have quite as much turn of foot as the winner," Bailey said. "She ran very well."
Tom Albertrani, the trainer of Balletto, perhaps summed it up best.
"The winner was very impressive today and we were just second best," he said.
Sense of Style, the second choice, lunged at the start and was well back early. She never made an impact, finishing ninth in the 12-horse field.