Cash is King LLC’s Cathryn Sophia found herself in an unusual position on Saturday in the $200,000 Forward Gal S. (G2) – running behind her rivals instead of leading the way.
The talented bay filly easily romped in her initial two starts by double digits while leading all the way home, but broke a step slow under jockey Joel Rosario in the Forward Gal. Cathryn Sophia found herself in fifth early while running along the rail as Island Saint showed the way up front with Ballet Diva latched onto her outside.
Meanwhile, Cathryn Sophia was inching her way closer to the lead on the rail but found the way blocked entering the turn with Island Saint in front and Rontos Lily to her outside. Rosario didn’t panic, patiently biding his time until Rontos Lily floated a bit out, and then sent Cathryn Sophia through the slim space that opened up.
Cathryn Sophia glided out to be about four wide entering the stretch. The John Servis pupil was finally able to kick into gear and sailed clear of her rivals under a hand ride to score by 5 1/2 lengths as the prohibitive 1-9 favorite.
Cathryn Sophia completed seven furlongs over Gulfstream Park’s fast main track in 1:22.04, returning $2.20 to her backers. The daughter of Street Boss was making her stakes bow in this spot and not only took home the $122,760 winner’s share, which boosted her lifetime earnings to $212,760, but also 10 points toward a starting berth in the May 6 Kentucky Oaks (G1) at Churchill Downs.
The Forward Gal is part of the Road to the Kentucky Oaks series of points races and awarded 10-4-2-1 to the top four finishers. Island Saint joined the Oaks leaderboard with four points thanks to her runner-up effort in this one. Ballet Diva was another 4 3/4 lengths back in third, good for a two-point debut on the leaderboard. Rontos Lily rounded out the superfecta as the 87-1 longest shot in the Forward Gal and took home one point.
However, Cathryn Sophia was the star on this occasion while moving her line to a perfect three-for-three. She’ll be tested past seven furlongs in her next start, the $200,000 Davona Dale S. (G2) going a mile at Gulfstream on February 27. That race is part of the Kentucky Oaks Championship series, awarding 50 points to the winner.
Bred in Maryland by Robert T. Manfuso, Cathryn Sophia sold for only $30,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Fall yearling to Charles J. Zacney (Cash is King LLC).
She is the first registered foal out of the unraced Mineshaft mare Sheave, who is herself a daughter of Grade 2 heroine Belterra. That Unbridled mare is a half-sister to multiple Grade 2 victor Royal Haven, and farther back this female family also includes champion turf mare and French highweight Miss Alleged.
FORWARD GAL QUOTES
John Servis (trainer, Cathryn Sophia): “She showed me a lot of diversity for sure. She broke a little bit slow her first start, but she was so much better than them. It wasn't far and she was by herself. Today, Joel (Rosario) let her sit back there and eat some dirt, and she settled nice. She got tucked in behind horses and waited patiently. He said when he called on her, she just kicked.
“When I saw her switch back to her left lead late, I asked Joel about that, and he said she was just getting bored. He said, ‘When I asked her she just kicked.' She ran away from those horses pretty easy and was looking for something else.
“I think she'll handle a mile well (in the Davona Dale). She'll probably break a lot sharper next time. She hadn't run for a couple months and I hadn't gotten her back to the gate. She's got a great mind. I think now that she broke again and has figured out what she's supposed to be doing, she'll leave there running next time and be pretty close, pretty easy.
“Actually, believe it or not, I was more impressed with this race than I was with the first two. She beat a decent field of horses today and the way she did it today, she did it like a good filly.”
Joel Rosario (jockey, Cathryn Sophia): “She's a nice filly. I thought she was going to be fast out of the gate and she actually took a little bit of time. When we got to the top of the stretch she had a beautiful stride and it was all her after that. She was game the whole way. It was very impressive.”
Chuck Zacney (owner, Cathryn Sophia): I didn't see the break. I was standing near the finish line. Then I heard the call that she was fifth and I was like, ‘What happened?' Then I saw her moving up. Joel rode her confidently. Then at the top of the stretch I saw her go three-wide and I felt pretty good, and then she kind of drew off. It was a great time, 1:22.
“It's pretty exciting, and we love Gulfstream and the program here. We're going to try the mile race (Davona Dale) next.”