As Madison and Floyd have noted, first with relief and then with umbrage, there’s a real dearth of feline equines around these parts these days. What’s a poor hunch bettor to do? Like much of the NY racing community, look southward.
While at Tampa Bay Downs last Friday, I picked up programs for Aqueduct and Gulfstream as well; I try never to bet more than two tracks at once (and even that’s a stretch for me at times), but I took a quick glance through all three programs to see if any familiar or intriguing names jumped out at me. Nothing much at Aqueduct grabbed my attention, but I loved the third at Gulfstream: three-year-old maidens, most of them first- or second-time starters, the kind of race I love to bet. And there was Face The Cat (Tale of the Cat – Forty Love), trained by my former student Helen Pitts, 12/1 on the morning line, Calvin Borel up. I looked no further.
He’d raced once before, at the end of July at Ellis Park, and finished up the track. I’d like to tell you that I actually noticed that at the time, or that a sharp series of works pointed me in his direction, but if I did I’d be lying. Off I trotted to the window to make a WP bet.
I went outside to watch the fifth at Tampa, and by the time I got back inside, the Gulfstream race was over; I watched the stretch run and there was the #8 horse, coming up the outside to win by a length and a quarter.
Having no expectation that my hunch bet would actually have won, I pulled out my program to see who the eight horse was…Really? Face The Cat was the 8? So I pulled out my ticket, to see if I had in fact bet the 8. And there on my ticket: Gulfstream R3, $2 WP, #8: Face The Cat, coming in at 11-1. Woo-hoo! Turns out that Prado and not Borel was actually on the horse (despite what my program said), and the $24.40/$8.60 payout gave me a little money to play with for the rest of the day.
Madison and Floyd grumbled at me for not sharing the action, but I reminded Floyd that he wasn’t particularly generous when he hit with Lava Cat back in November. I tried to find contact information for Helen to send some electronic congratulations, but I can’t find a thing for her anywhere on the web. Why is it so hard to find contact information for trainers? I’ve tried several other times to find info on smaller trainers, with zero luck. Doesn’t seem like good marketing to me.
On Sunday, The Cat’s Affair hit in the 8th, but that race went unbet. Here’s hoping that some feline luck followed me up 95…