Photo courtesy Coglianese Photos/Courtney Heeney
In her highly anticipated 3-year-old debut, Kauai Katie romped to an easy eight-length victory over Cor Cor in the Jan. 1 Old Hat Stakes (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park.
The speedy daughter of Malibu Moon , who received the services of jockey John Velazquez for the first time, completed the six-furlong contest in 1:09.66 for trainer Todd Pletcher and Barbara Banke's Stonestreet Farm.
Going off as the 1-9 favorite in the field of five, Kauai Katie recorded her fourth triumph from five career starts and increased her earnings to $468,000 in the Old Hat, which she entered off her first defeat, a fourth in the Nov. 2 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) going 1 1/16 miles at Santa Anita Park.
Kauai Katie broke well but let Cor Cor take the early lead. As Kauai Katie sat just off the pace, Cor Cor clicked off fractions of :22.22 and :44.99. Kauai then easily rushed past her rival in upper stretch and continued to increase her advantage to the wire. Cor Cor was second, with Power Lady securing the show position.
"It was really a two horse race," remarked jockey John Velazquez. "I wasn't going to let Cor Cor get away too easily so I put some pressure on her. When I got to her, Katie pulled away from them and she made it easy for me."
"My filly has tremendous early speed, that's her game," said jockey Scott Spieth, who was aboard Cor Cor. "I just wanted to get her relaxed. She left there running today and got the lead like we expected, just got outrun by a better horse today. She dug in and held second and did everything up to form."
According to Pletcher, the Jan. 26 Forward Gal Stakes (gr. III) is the next target for the newly-turned sophomore filly, who paid $2.20, $2.10, and $2.10, while Cor Cor returned $2.40 and $2.10. Power Lady paid $2.20.
"She was impressive," Pletcher remarked. "I was concerned about the 'three' filly (Cor Cor). It looked like she had a lot of speed and from the one post it makes it a little bit difficult tactically. It worked out well. The other filly cleared and we were able to get to the outside and make a move to stalk.
"She's a very good filly," the trainer continued. "She's probably at her best at a little shorter distance than we tried in the Breeders' Cup. Honestly, I don't think she really handled the track that day, because as fast as she is, she was never pulling herself along. She's probably better sprinting, but I'm not positive she liked the track that day."
Winner of her first three races by more than 22 lengths, Kauai Katie made her first start at Saratoga Race Course July 20 with a front-running 12-length triumph going 5 1/2 furlongs despite stumbling at the break from the rail post position.
She came right back at Saratoga on Aug. 12 to win the 6 1/2 -furlong Adirondack (gr. II) by nearly three lengths under a hand ride, then posted a 7 1/2 -length victory in the Matron (gr. II) at six furlongs Sept. 30.
Bred in Kentucky by Spendthrift Farm, Kauai Katie was a $490,000 purchase at this year's Fasig-Tipton Florida select 2-year-olds in training sale. She is out of the More Than Ready mare More Than Pretty.
For an Equibase chart of the race click here.
KAUAI KATIE RETURNS TO THE WINNERS' CIRCLE AFTER HER VICTORY