Friday, February 10, 2006 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . February 11, 2006 . . . A poised and professional effort by Cat Quatorze and Julien Leparoux earned the filly and her apprentice jockey the first stakes win of their respective careers in the $50,000 Likely Exchange Stakes at Turfway Park Saturday.
Cat Quatorze sat easily in third during the early going, leaving Quite a Ruckus to take an early, moderately paced, five-length lead. Leparoux remained quiet as Cat Quatorze moved up to catch the leader after half and then urged her on at the quarter pole to take the lead. She gradually lengthened her advantage to finish 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Cercatore, who just got up to put a nose in front of a still-game Quite a Ruckus.
The effort virtually duplicated Cat Quatorze’s last race, also a mile over the Polytrack at Turfway, although that time she beat Cercatore by nearly eight lengths. “She ran exactly like last time,” said Leparoux. “Same kind of race. She’s a very good filly. She won easy again. You have to not fight with her. She kind of wanted to go, so I let her do what she wants. She was maybe a little nervous before [in the paddock] and in the post parade, but then she relaxed and was very good.”
Completing the order of finish were Gallant Secret, Fly Away Angel, Cats Copy, Casuarina, Regale, Lenatareese, Solid Platinum, and Stavinsky’s Gal. Ms. Purr scratched, as did the also eligibles, Truely Ruby and Air Kaper.
Cat Quatorze was the 5-2 favorite, paying $7.00, $5.40, and $4.00. She finished the mile in 1:39.85. Trained by Helen Pitts, the four-year-old filly is owned by Steve and Stan Kaplan’s Stevestan Stables. She now has four wins and two thirds from nine career starts.
The win was Leparoux’s fifth on the day, the third time the young Frenchman has won five races on a single card since the Winter/Spring Meet began January 1. In addition to the Likely Exchange, he closed from far back on Southern Jack to take the first race and won the second with an off-the-pace ride on Cunning Cat. He won the sixth and seventh races on Motcombe Street and Cub’s Power, respectively, coming from mid-pack both times. Leparoux currently leads the nation by wins with 76.
Jockey Dean Butler won the ninth race with Country Diva and the 11th race with Cat Runner, leaving him just three shy of 1,000 career wins.
Racing continues at Turfway on Sunday, with first post at 1:10 p.m.