Gary Barber, Michael James Ambler and Windways Farm's Catch A Glimpse maintained her perfect turf record despite stretching out to 1 1/4 miles for the first time in her career, gutting out a win by a half-length over the late-running Time and Motion in Saturday's Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Oaks Invitational. With the victory, Mark Casse's Catch A Glimpse earns an automatic berth to the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf this year at Santa Anita, since the contest is a part of the Breeders' Cup “Win and You're In” Challenge Series. The sophomore filly by City Zip covered the 10 furlongs over the firm turf faster than the male edition of the Invitational, stopping the clock in 1:59.97 under Florent Geroux.
“The 1 ¼ miles was a legitimate concern; she had never been beyond 1 1/16 miles,” said assistant trainer Norm Casse. “This filly, any time another horse comes to her, she finds another gear and she rewarded our confidence today. This has been a dream come true [winning at Royal Ascot with Tepin and a Grade 1, $1 million race with Catch a Glimpse]. There's a lot of pressure. This morning I woke up and I was really nervous. But at the end of the day, it's what we wanted, and now we're getting a chance to achieve our dreams. It's very rewarding for Dad, and it's very rewarding for me.”
Catch a Glimpse broke very sharply for Geroux, earning a full-length jump on the rest of the 13-horse field of sophomore fillies. She was quickly joined by the Aidan O'Brien-trained filly Coolmore, who didn't break well but was rushed up to join the fray; Geroux allowed his filly enough rein to maintain about a 1 1/2 length lead through a first quarter in :24.28. He eased her back a bit to cover the half-mile in :49.36, with Coolmore about two lengths behind and Auntie Joy a further two lengths behind in third. Catch A Glimpse snuck in a breather over the next quarter to cover the fraction in 1:13.87, though the break allowed Coolmore to approach her flank as Time and Motion also began her rally from fourth position.
At the top of the stretch, Catch A Glimpse was approached by the Irish invader Coolmore on her outside. A quick flick of the reins from Geroux and Catch A Glimpse bounded away, quickly moving out to a two-length advantage. With an eighth of a mile to run, the filly switched back to her left lead, perhaps looking a bit tired as Coolmore dropped out of the running. But Time and Motion still had something left, and found another gear to challenge the Breeders' Cup winner under John Velazquez. With every stride Time and Motion cut into Catch A Glimpse's lead, but it was the Mark Casse trainee who held on to win by a shrinking half-length at the wire in an enormous display of talent and heart. Coolmore did hang on to finish third, while Pricedtoperfection was fourth.
“She broke very well from the gate and from there I just kept going as fast as I could,” said Geroux. “When I asked her to leave from home she gave me a good kick and was very brave all the way to the wire. She was the quickest of the race so it's not like I had an outside post with a horse with no speed. Speed is always dangerous no matter what the distance.”
Bred in Kentucky by Branch Equine, Catch A Glimpse was a bargain $75,000 yearling purchase at the Keeneland September Sale. She has now won eight of eight straight races over the turf in her career, her only loss coming in her very first start on the dirt. Her overall earnings now stand at $1.8 million.
“She'll definitely go up to Saratoga to train; I'm not sure what her next race will be,” Norm Casse conitnued. “It's always been race to race with her.”
Watch the race replay here:
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