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Kauai Katie much the best in Old Hat
Kauai Katie blew past pacesetter Cor Cor at the top of the stretch and drew off to an easy win in Tuesday's Grade 3, $98,000 Old Hat at Gulfstream Park, a six-furlong test for newly turned three-year-old fillies. Under John Velazquez, the Stonestreet Stables lass won by eight lengths and completed the distance in a swift 1:09 3/5 over a fast track.
Cor Cor, the 7-2 third choice in a field of five, set early splits of :22 1/5 and :44 4/5. Kauai Katie, the 1-10 favorite, broke from post 1, but allowed her rival to build up an early 1 1/2 length advantage before moving outside that one into a pressing position. Making her bid passing the quarter pole, Kauai Katie stormed past Cor Cor, who wound up second, 6 3/4 lengths ahead of Power Lady. Cupids Messenger and She's All Scat completed the order of finish.
"She was impressive," trainer Todd Pletcher said. "I was concerned about the (Cor Cor). It looked like she had a lot of speed and from the 1 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."
Kauai Katie's numerous backers were rewarded with mutuels of $2.20, $2.10 and $2.10.
A dominating winner of her first three starts -- a Saratoga maiden by 12 lengths, the Grade 2 Adirondack by 2 3/4 lengths, and the Grade 2 Matron by 7 1/2 lengths -- Kauai Katie suffered her only setback to date in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita November 2. Racing beyond 6 1/2 furlongs for the first time, Kauai Katie tracked in second behind eventual winner Beholder to the top of the stretch before fading to fourth in that 1 1/16-mile heat. Her career earnings now stand at $468,000.
"She's probably at her best at a little shorter distance than we tried in the Breeders' Cup," Pletcher added. "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.
"We'll try the (Grade 3) Forward Gal (on January 26 over seven furlogs) and go from there."
Bred in Kentucky by Spendthrift Farm, Kauai Katie was first sold for $90,000 as a Keeneland September yearling. She went to her current connections for $490,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Florida two-year-old. She is out of the stakes-winning More Than Ready mare, More Than Pretty, and her second dam is Pretty Livia, who also produced stakes heroine Ingrid the Gambler. This is also the family of Grade 3 winner Cimarron Secret and Grade 1-placed multiple stakes victress Cojinx.