It certainly wasn’t news that trainer Mark Casse won Saturday’s Grade 2 $212,800 Natalma Stakes, a Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In event. After all, it’s the sixth time since 2006 that he’s done so.
What was news was that the winner, Catch a Glimpse, was dismissed at odds of 8-1 after impressively winning the prep for the race on August 22.
With Florent Geroux in the irons, Catch a Glimpse went immediately to the front in the one mile turf stake for two-year-old fillies and never looked back, posting fractions over the ‘good’ lawn softened by overnight rain of :23.63, 47.57 and 1:12.11, before widening down the lane and reaching the wire five lengths in front in 1:35.95.
Her nine rivals were lucky indeed to catch a glimpse of her, but heavily-favoured Gamble’s Ghost did her best, closing on the outside to finish second, with previously-unbeaten dual stakes winner Caren third in her turf debut.
Catch a Glimpse thus earned her connections an all-expenses paid trip to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, scheduled for Friday, October 30.
Owned by Gary Barber, Windways Farm (Jeff Begg) and Mike Ambler, the daughter of City Zip-Halo River, a $75,000 Keeneland yearling purchase, earned $120,000 for the victory, with a promising future on the horizon.
“I just tried to calm her down, she was very happy. When I asked her turning for home, she gave me a very nice kick and won the race pretty easily,” said Geroux, aboard for the first time. “She’s not very big but she’s very tough and very fast.”
“I saw her at Keeneland last year and she looked fast standing still,” recalled Begg. “I wound up buying her and then Mike Ambler and Gary Barber bought a piece of her. She always looked like she’d probably be headed to the turf with her pedigree and she proved us right. Well, I would expect so (onto the Breeders’ Cup). It’s in Kentucky this year, there’s a good chance the turf will be similar to today with a little give and she obviously liked it.”
Catch a Glimpse debuted at Saratoga on July 30, but the race came off the grass and she floundered in the slop, finishing a well-beaten fifth in the five and one-half furlong sprint.
Then came her big effort in the Natalma prep over seven furlongs of grass on August 22, when she won in front-running fashion by a handy one and three-quarter lengths. She was also 8-1 that day, and the chestnut filly followed up with a dominating performance on Saturday.
Said jockey Luis Contreras, aboard the 3-2 choice Gamble’s Ghost, who was also making her turf debut after an impressive maiden won on Polytrack, “My trip was perfect. By the time I got to swing out at the quarter pole, I lost a couple lengths there. She broke nice and she was nice and comfortable. She was strong at the end, but she just had a little too much to do.”
Catch a Glimpse paid $19.80, $6.60 and $4.80, combining with Gamble’s Ghost ($3.20, $2.70) for a $70.10 (9-4) exactor. A 9-4-1 (Caren, $3.80) triactor was worth $456.10 while a $1 Superfecta [9-4-1-3 (Most Inspiring) returned $1,233.95.