Maryland-breds shine on dirt, turf and sandstone

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Ted Black

February 29th, 2016

Saturday afternoon and evening proved to be a banner occasion for Maryland-bred thoroughbreds and standardbreds alike as products of the Free States's breeding industry reached the winner's circle at Gulfstream Park and Yonkers Raceway.

Saturday afternoon at Gulfstream, Cathryn Sophia lived up to her role as the 1-5 favorite in the Grade II, $200,000 Davonna Dale at one mile on the main track when she bided her time through the early stages and then rolled past the leaders in the lane en route to a four-length score in 1:36.61. A daughter of Street Boss out of the Mineshaft mare Sheave, Cathryn Sophia remained perfect in four lifetime outings and now looms as the second-best sophomore filly in the land behind defending two-year-old filly champion Songbird.

Three days after being named the champion Maryland-bred two-year-old filly of 2015, Cathryn Sophia took another step toward defending her local title and perhaps Maryland-bred horse of the year honors and maybe even an Eclipse Award by notching her third straight stakes tally. Cathryn Sophia has won a air of Grade II stakes over the Gulftsream strip this winter and now will look to carry her ability around two turns for the first time next month and perhaps earn a date with Songbird in the Kentucky Oaks on the first Friday in May at Churchill Downs.

Cathryn Sophia has now won all four of her starts by a combined 39 lengths and is clearly the only legitimate threat to hand Songbird the first setback of her stellar career this spring. Cathryn Sophia won her debut by nearly 13 lengths against maiden special weight foes at Parx then won the $100,000 Gin Talking Stakes at Laurel by over 16 lengths. She ventured to Southern Florida this winter and promptly captured the Grade II, $200,000 Forward Gal Stakes over the Gulfstream strip by over five lengths as the 1-9 choice.

Several races later on the Gulfstream card, Giant Run rallied from well off the pace to finish second in the Grade III, $150,000 Palm Beach Stakes at one-mile and one-sixteenth on the grass. A sophomore son of Giant's Causeway out of a Polish Numbers mare trained by Thomas Albertrani, Giant Run finished a solid second behind 5-2 favorite Converge. Giant Run had garnered his diploma with a gritty win over the Gulfstream Park grass against maiden special weight foes in his previous start and then raced well on the lawn in the Palm Beach.

Later that evening at Yonkers Raceway in New York, Caution Signs benefited from a pocket trip and made a late bid along the passing lane to notch his first win of the season while defeating non-winners of $18,000 last five starts foes in 1:53.1. A six-year-old Dream Away stallion trained by Jose Godinez, Caution Signs posted his first win in six starts this year and now boasts 18 wins and lifetime earnings of nearly $295,000 from 77 career tries. The Winbak Farm product won 13 of 37 outings last year when he banked nearly $180,000 and took a lifetime mark of 1:48.3 at Pocono Downs.