Catch a Glimpse still unbeatable on turf in Appalachian

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April 14th, 2016

Newly crowned Canadian Horse of the Year Catch a Glimpse returned to Keeneland, the scene of her Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) triumph, and added another trophy to her cabinet in Thursday’s $125,000 Appalachian (G3). The 3-5 favorite stalked, pounced, and safely held the persistent Ava’s Kitten to remain perfect from five starts on turf.

In the process, Catch a Glimpse followed in the hoofsteps of her dam, Halo River, who landed the 1998 Appalachian. As track announcer Kurt Becker helpfully noted, Halo River still holds the stakes record of 1:34 4/5 for the one-mile turf test.

Catch a Glimpse also became the second straight Juvenile Fillies Turf winner to capture the Appalachian, after unbeaten sensation Lady Eli. The two go about their dominance in different ways, with Catch a Glimpse usually forward into the bit and Lady Eli delivering a late charge in hand.

That early keenness was evident as Catch a Glimpse watched two longshots – 89-1 Recognition and 23-1 Princess Princess – dash ahead through a quarter-mile in :23.37. Perched in third on the outside, Catch a Glimpse appeared eager to get on with it and crept closer down the backstretch. But regular rider Florent Geroux coaxed her to wait at the half in :47.86.

When Princess Princess accosted Recognition through six furlongs in 1:12.88, Catch a Glimpse was let loose, and there could be only one result. The Mark Casse filly turned on the speed and sprinted two lengths clear.

Ava’s Kitten, who was following Catch a Glimpse’s move, gave admirable chase wider out. Perhaps jockey Javier Castellano wanted to keep her in the center of the course, just in case she could catch Catch a Glimpse unaware of a challenge from that quarter. Ava’s Kitten did well to reduce the deficit to three-quarters of a length, more through a steady, sustained effort than a blistering threat. Catch a Glimpse was always doing enough as she finished the firm-turf mile in 1:37.27.

Outsider Art was along for third, and Spinamiss got up for fourth. Dothraki Queen did little to enhance her prospects for the British classics, winding up eighth after a troubled start and wide trip. Baciami Piccola didn’t seem in the mood beforehand when proving recalcitrant at the gate, and her mind might as well have been elsewhere as he never factored in ninth.

Catch a Glimpse, whose only career loss came in her off-the-turf debut in the Saratoga slop, has compiled a record of 6-5-0-0, $842,562. She scooped three Sovereign Awards for her 2015 campaign, clinching the 2-year-old filly and turf female titles en route to Horse of the Year honors. Her five-length rout of the Natalma (G2) marked her as above average, an impression she confirmed over an international cast in the Breeders’ Cup. The daughter of City Zip opened her sophomore season with a 2 1/2-length coup in the February 27 Herecomesthebride (G3) at Gulfstream.

Bred by Branch Equine in Kentucky, the May 13 foal is a half-sister to Grade 3-winning sire Old Forester. Catch a Glimpse was a $75,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase by Windways Farm Ltd., which campaigns her in partnership with Gary Barber and Michael James Ambler.

Quotes from Keeneland

Assistant trainer Norman Casse on Catch a Glimpse: “She’s always going to be a flighty filly in the paddock, maybe misbehave with the pony and those type of things. That’s just her. As far as her maturity as a racehorse, she is progressing very nicely. (Jockey) Florent (Geroux) can let those longshots go (to the lead), and she’ll relax for him. She’s becoming a better racehorse.

“We’ll see how she looks in the morning and see how she trains. There’s a race at Churchill for her Derby Week called the Edgewood (G3), and hopefully we’ll get the opportunity to run her there in front of that crowd.”

Winning rider Florent Geroux: “Everything worked out good. Looked like on paper there was a couple of horses with speed right inside me, so I had nothing to worry about. Everything went good. She relaxed very good down the backside. When I asked her to go, she gave me a very nice turn of foot.

“Sometimes at the end (of a race), she gets a little bit bored. She does it so easily that sometimes she switches back and forth – left lead, right lead – but I think it’s just because she’s not really paying attention because no one is really challenging her.

“She proved she was the best today.”

Jockey Javier Castellano on runner-up Ava’s Kitten:

“I thought I was going to (win). Perfect trip. I rode a good, good race to beat (Catch a Glimpse), but she’s a champion filly. She won the Breeders’ Cup (Juvenile Fillies Turf), beat every horse and we were just second-best today. My filly ran so well. I just couldn’t go by.”


Photo courtesy Keeneland/Coady Photography.