Catch a Glimpse answers distance question in Belmont Oaks

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

July 9th, 2016

After Catch a Glimpse remained perfect from eight career turf starts in Saturday’s $1 million Belmont Oaks (G1), assistant trainer Norman Casse might have said it best:

“#TEPIN is the Queen of the Turf but we now know who the heir apparent is #CATCHAGLIMPSE,” Casse tweeted.

Like her Eclipse Award-winning stablemate, Catch a Glimpse is making a habit of defeating international fields on the big stage. The Mark Casse trainee clinched the 2015 Canadian Horse of the Year title by virtue of her Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) victory at Keeneland, where a couple of her rivals were inconvenienced. Outclassing Grade 3 company in the interim, she faced her stiffest challenge yet on Saturday – 1 1/4 miles around Belmont’s firm inner turf. Yet it made absolutely no difference. The result was the same.

Dispatched as the 3-1 second choice, Catch a Glimpse was allowed to get away with uncontested fractions of :24.28, :49.36 and 1:13.87. Coolmore, the lesser-fancied of Aidan O’Brien’s Oaks duo, might have been expected to be more of a thorn in the front runner’s side, and thereby help her 2-1 stablemate Ballydoyle. But if so, a tardy start blew up the plan. Coolmore did eventually go forward to sit second, and tried to ratchet up the pressure on the far turn, but that was too little, too late.

Catch a Glimpse had been given too much rope, and she proceeded to hang the rest of them with it. Under another perfectly judged ride by regular pilot Florent Geroux, the chestnut upped the tempo through a mile in 1:36.70 and opened up down the lane. By throwing in a final quarter in :23.17 to finish in 1:59.87, she made it awfully tough on anyone trying to close the gap.

Time and Motion therefore deserves great credit for her late pursuit, which brought her up to Catch a Glimpse’s flank. But that final half-length remained between them at the wire. Although a stronger pace scenario would have helped Time and Motion’s cause, Catch a Glimpse doesn’t need the lead either. The winner may have simply adapted to her environment and still gotten the jump on the closers. That’s the rub with Catch a Glimpse: every time I think there’s an extenuating circumstance for her beaten rivals, she comes right back and validates her superiority.

Catch a Glimpse’s front-running performance compares favorably with the Belmont Derby (G1). Not only was her final time considerably faster, but she was faster at every single call.

With the Belmont Oaks being a “Win & You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1), it could be a sneak preview of a very similar type of race over 1 1/4 miles on Santa Anita’s firm turf. Dayatthespa redux? Like the 2014 BC F&M Turf heroine, Catch a Glimpse is also by City Zip.

Back to the rest of the Oaks field. Coolmore held third, a further 3 3/4 lengths back. The 36-1 Pricedtoperfection checked in fourth. Ballydoyle was the bitter disappointment, always well back before being virtually eased home in last. Hopefully there’s nothing physically amiss with the talented filly, who’s never run this poorly in her life.

Now eight-for-nine lifetime, Catch a Glimpse has amassed $1,748,052 in earnings. Her lone loss came in her off-the-turf debut in the slop at Saratoga. Aside from her Grade 1 laurels, she’s also collected the Natalma (G2), Herecomesthebride (G3), Appalachian (G3), Edgewood (G3), and Penn Mile (G3) versus males last time out for owners Gary Barber, Michael James Ambler and Windways Farm.

Quotes from NYRA

Assistant trainer Norman Casse on Catch a Glimpse: “The 1 1/4 miles was a legitimate concern; she had never been beyond 1 1/16 miles. This filly, any time another horse comes to her, she finds another gear and she rewarded our confidence today.

“This has been a dream come true [winning at Royal Ascot with Tepin and a Grade 1 race with Catch a Glimpse]. There's a lot of pressure. This morning I woke up and I was really nervous. But at the end of the day, it's what we wanted, and now we're getting a chance to achieve our dreams.

"She'll definitely go up to Saratoga to train; I'm not sure what her next race will be. It's always been race-to-race with her.”

Jockey Florent Geroux on Catch a Glimpse: “She broke very well from the gate and from there I just kept going as fast as I could. When I asked her to leave from home she gave me a good kick and was very brave all the way to the wire.

“She was the quickest of the race so it's not like I had an outside post with a horse with no speed. Speed is always dangerous no matter what the distance.”

Hall of Fame rider John Velazquez on runner-up Time and Motion: “We were in perfect position and everything, but the other horse kept running. She ran hard but couldn't get there in time.”

Jimmy Toner, trainer of Time and Motion: “I thought they would press her [Catch a Glimpse] a little bit more, but they didn't. Something happened [with Coolmore at the break] and I thought [Harmonize] might put on a little pressure since they put the blinkers on her. I don't know. We gave it a try. She was too far in front.”

Photo courtesy NYRA/Coglianese Photography.