Curlin’s Catch on KY Oaks trail after Suncoast Stakes win

Making just her fourth start Breeze Easy’s three-year-old filly, Curlin’s Catch, gained a first stakes win and earned 10 qualify points for the Kentucky Oaks (G1) by capturing the $100,000 Suncoast Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.

A $430,000 OBS April Two-Year-Old in Training Sale purchase, Ontario-bred Curlin’s Catch finished second against males at Woodbine on her debut last October. She returned to finish fifth just three weeks later in the Princess Elizabeth Stakes, Canada’s premier race for juvenile fillies.

Moving to Florida for the winter, Curlin’s Catch switched to the dirt for a maiden special weight over a mile at Gulfstream Park on January 3. There she went wire-to-wire to score impressively by 2 3/4 lengths over well-considered Tabor Hall, herself a winner next time out.

On February 6, Curlin’s Catch reappeared as favorite for the $100,000 Suncoast Stakes over a mile and 40 yards at Tampa Bay Downs. Switching to stalking tactics on this occasion, the bay sat in fifth through the first half mile. Moving up smoothly into third heading into the final turn, the bay split rivals turning for home and then powered clear in the stretch to tally by 4 1/2 lengths.

She was followed across the line by the previously stakes placed Be Sneaky and the Princess Elizabeth Stakes second Il Malocchio, while further back in the field came Special Princess, previously winner of the Gasparilla Stakes over the Tampa strip, and Feeling Mischief, who had captured the Sandpiper Stakes at Tampa.

Antonio Gallardo who picked up the mount for Hall of Fame trainer, Mark Casse, noted after the race “Her last race (a dominating victory on Jan. 3 at Gulfstream) looked awesome on tape, so I knew she could handle the distance,” Gallardo said. “I had a lot of horse turning for home, and when I saw (rival jockeys) asking their and going nowhere, I was pretty confident. Everything worked out perfect.” Added Casse

“Every piece is a step, like a puzzle, and you never know how they are going to react to the next level of competition,” Casse said. “I don’t think we could ask her to do much better than she did today. She comes from a wonderful family, and I think we have to think a little about some bigger things down the road.

“(Gallardo) showed how good a rider he is. They kind of broke and came down on top of him at the start, and he sat and waited until it was time to really start running.”

Curlin’s Catch certainly has the pedigree for classic success. She is by Two-time Horse of the Year Curlin, already sire of Champions Vino Ross, Good Magic and Stellar Wind, and classic winners Palace Malice and Exaggerator. Her dam, Catch The Thrill, a daughter of Horse of the Year, A.P. Indy, was Champion Two-Year-Old Filly in Canada, and she is out of Catch The Ring, Champion Three-Year-Old Filly in Canada. The third dam, the Halo mare, Radiant Ring, captured no less than nine black-type events, among the Matchmaker Stakes (G2)