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Coragil Cat Adds Hanshin Cup to Win Ledger

Churchill Downs Communications | 05/24/2008 #

Jim Tafel LLC’s Coragil Cat, who set an Arlington Polytrack record mile of 1:33.55 in his last start, burst through in mid-stretch and drew off to win the Grade III $100,000 Hanshin Stakes by three lengths on Saturday.  Diego Sanchez rode the Greg Geier-trained son of Forest Wildcat, who covered the mile in 1:34.86.

The Hanshin was the third straight win for the 4-year-old colt, who captured the $53,000 Timeless Native Stakes on May 3 and an allowance race at the Fair Grounds in March to rebound from a winless 2007 campaign.  Overall, his record stands at four wins from 22 starts and the $58,200 winner’s share pushed his earnings to $170,075.

“He’s trained excellently since his last race so we decided to run and give him a chance here,” Geier said.  “He turned it around here a bit last year with some seconds and thirds.  He really got good the last month (of the meet) at the Fair Grounds and it continued on up here.”

“I had a lot of confidence the last time I rode him and more confidence today,” added Sanchez.  “He’s a slow horse in the mornings and he’s a different horse in the afternoon.  They were going very fast up front, so I waited.  My horse started to run by himself, so I let him go ahead.”

Defending champion Spotsgone set a very quick pace on the lead through fractions of 22.86 seconds, 45.92 seconds and 1:09.55 before giving way in the stretch.

Morada Key was second in the eight-horse race, two lengths ahead of Steve’s Double who ran third.  Beaten favorite Lovango was fourth, followed by Throng, Fort Prado, Stonehouse and Spotsgone.

“I had a perfect trip, everything went our way,” said jockey Larry Sterling Jr. of Morada Key’s trip.  “I just couldn’t run them down.  I got outrun.”

“At the quarter pole, I thought I was a winner, but then he just fell apart,” said Rene Douglas, who rode the beaten favorite.  “He just put his head down.  I think he might have bled.”

Coragil Cat was dispatched at odds of more than 11-1, returning $24.20, $10.40 and $5.60.  Morada Key paid $28.60 and $12.40.  Steve’s Double paid $6.20.