Saratoga Springs

Farrell gets to the lead and hangs on in Shuvee

Wow Cat brought an undefeated record into the race, but couldn't quite catch Farrell
Farrell, right, holds off Chilean import Wow Cat, center, and Verve's Tale in the Shuvee.
Farrell, right, holds off Chilean import Wow Cat, center, and Verve's Tale in the Shuvee.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Wow Cat came into Sunday’s Grade III Shuvee with a resume much different from that of her rivals.

She was 8-for-8 in her career by almost 48 lengths — all in Chile — and she hadn’t raced since early December.

Her workout pattern for trainer Chad Brown at Saratoga Race Course and Belmont Park was eye-catching, too, so it seemed logical when the betting public sent her off as the 4-5 favorite.

The 4-year-old filly Farrell and jockey Channing Hill proved to be less than hospitable hosts for Wow Cat in her North American debut, though, jumping to the lead and never relinquishing to win by a neck over the Chilean horse.

“She was breezing really well, and Chad was pretty high on her, it seemed like, but … I mean, welcome to America,” Hill said with a grin.

Farrell has been butting heads with stiff competition this season with nothing to show for it other than a win in her Jan. 13 debut at Oaklawn Park.

On Sunday, she established a two-length lead over Wow Cat and held it until the stretch, when at first Wow Cat, then Verve’s Tale, made their runs at the leader.

It wasn’t a perfect stretch run for Farrell, who drifted out, but she kept it together in the final strides.

Charging from the outside, Verve’s Tale finished a head behind Wow Cat, ridden by John Velazquez.

“She’s such a good mare, she deserves to win a race like this up here,” Hill said. “I couldn’t say too much bad about her. She can be a little particular, which you could see halfway down the lane. I thought we should’ve opened up by open lengths from the eighth pole, but that’s just how she is.”

“We need to win a Grade I, so we’ll see [about the Ballerina on Aug. 25],” Farrell’s trainer Wayne Catalano said. “This came up to our liking, so here we are standing in the winner’s circle.

“This track is favored for speed, so when they scratched the 1 [Frost Wise], I looked pretty comfortable there. Now, I had to get is to the eighth pole, and Channing did the rest.”

Brown wasn’t at Saratoga to saddle Wow Cat, since he had Good Magic running in the Haskell at Monmouth Park, where Brown won four races on the card.

The 2017 2-year-old male Eclipse Award champion Good Magic got back to winning form in a big way, roaring down to the stretch under Jose Ortiz to take the Grade I, $1 million Haskell by three lengths over Bravazo.

That puts Good Magic squarely in the mix for the Travers at Saratoga on Aug. 25.

It was Good Magic’s first victory since the Grade II Blue Grass on April 7.

He was second to Justify in the Kentucky Derby and fourth by a length in the Preakness.

Reach Gazette Sportswriter Mike MacAdam at 518-395-3146 or [email protected]. Follow on Twitter @Mike_MacAdam.

Categories: -Sports

Leave a Reply