Catch a Glimpse (City Zip) and jockey Florent Geroux win the Belmont Oaks Invitational (Gr I) at Belmont Park
How do you beat Catch a Glimpse? That’s not easily answered, considering she is 8-for-9 in her career, and hasn’t lost a race since July 30, 2015.
Nonetheless, the connections of seven 3-year-old fillies are hoping Catch a Glimpse, who is undefeated on the grass, doesn’t bring her typical “A” game when she runs in Sunday’s Grade 2, $ 300,000 Lake Placid at Saratoga Race Course.
The only time Catch a Glimpse competed at Saratoga was the only time she did not visit the winner’s circle. She finished fifth in an off-the-turf maiden race in her very first start.
Catch a Glimpse, who races for the partnership of Michael James Ambler, Gary Barber and Windways Farm, will be favored to win for the ninth consecutive time in the 1 1/8-mile Lake Placid. Her amazing streak began in August 2015 with a win at Woodbine.
The front-runner will once again be partnered with jockey Florent Geroux, who has been aboard the City Zip filly ever since they won the Grade 2 Natalma at Woodbine last September. As a team, Catch a Glimpse and Geroux have captured seven graded stakes, including the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational, their most recent victory together.
Norm Casse, chief assistant to his father, Mark Casse, Catch a Glimpse’s trainer, said Geroux has the right touch with the filly, who can be a handful.
“She is a very nervous and flighty filly, and I think that Florent is really good at just letting horses do what they want and be comfortable within the body of a race,” the younger Casse said. “He doesn’t mess with her too much. I think some guys would get in her way and that would be very detrimental. Florent seems to get along with horses like that.
“But she definitely has matured recently too,” he added. “We figured out how to make her happy in the paddock and how to make her happy in the morning. But really, knock on wood, the crowd doesn’t really rile her up as much anymore, either.”
Catch a Glimpse, once again, finds herself in a situation where she is the controlling speed. She led from start to finish in both the Belmont Oaks and the Grade 3 Penn Mile, a race she won by 2 1/4 lengths over males in June.
“She likes to go,” Norm Casse said. “She likes to get out there and be comfortable. Her greatest asset is that she sits the perfect trip every time she runs. She typically doesn’t ever have a bad trip, and I think that makes it a little easier to keep this winning streak going.
“I don’t know if we know what her preferred distance is, but cutting back shouldn’t be any disadvantage for her,” he continued. “If anything, it’s more of an advantage for her. We’re just excited to get the chance to run her again. She’s really done well since the Belmont Oaks, and it seems she is sitting on another big race.”
Catch a Glimpse drew post 2 in the inner turf race.
In winning the 10-furlong Belmont Oaks, Catch a Glimpse set comfortable fractions before sprinting home, posting a final quarter-mile in a sharp :23 1/5. She defeated the runner-up, Time and Motion, by a half-length, which is the smallest margin of victory recorded by Catch a Glimpse.
The Jimmy Toner-trained Time and Motion takes another shot at Catch a Glimpse, who has now beaten her twice. Toner, who won the Lake Placid twice before with Memories of Silver in 1996 and Wonder Again in 2002, said he will leave it to his rider, Hall of Famer John Velazquez, to devise his own race strategy.
“I guess you just have to put pressure on [Catch a Glimpse] early, but meanwhile do you take yourself out of your own game to do that,” Toner said rhetorically Thursday morning. “That filly is going to be tough to beat. She’s a top-quality filly, and there is a reason she has put up all those 1s before her name. It is what it is. We’re going to give it another try and see what happens.
“I’ll just let Johnny figure it out; that’s what we are paying him for,” he added.
Time and Motion, a homebred for Phillips Racing Partnership, drew inside of the favorite, in post 1.
My Impression will make her graded stakes debut for trainer Shug McGaughey and her breeder, Stuart S. Janney III.
A daughter of Sky Mesa, My Impression became a black-type winner in her last start by capturing the Christiana Stakes at Delaware Park July 6.
“She deserves a chance,” McGaughey responded when asked why he picked such a salty spot. “She’s a stakes winner. It’s a graded stakes, so if she gets a piece of it, she will be graded stakes-placed.”
McGaughey said My Impression, who will be ridden by Jose Ortiz from post 6, will not be far off the early fractions.
“I think she will be laying pretty close, but I don’t think she will be on the lead, by any means, unless something would happen and [Catch a Glimpse] would stumble or something,” McGaughey said.
The field is completed by Belmont Oaks fourth-place finisher Pricedtoperfection, who hails from the white-hot barn of Saratoga’s leading trainer, Chad Brown; another Brown runner, Elysea’s World, the Grade 2 Lake George runner-up; Diamond Fields, eighth in her U.S. debut in the Lake George; and Lake George third-place finisher, Outsider Art.
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