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Reigning Catfish Pulls Huge Upset in Springfield Stakes

| Churchill Downs Communications | 06/01/2013 #
  • Reigning Catfish

  • Bold Kitten

  • Flower Spell

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (June 1, 2013) – John Carver’s Reigning Catfish, a 31-1 longshot, overtook 22-1 outsider Massive Explosion inside the eighth pole to pull off an upset victory in the $100,000 Springfield Stakes on Saturday at Arlington International Racecourse.  Seth Martinez was aboard the Tom Swearingen-trained son of Bellamy Road who got the mile over Polytrack in 1:37.76.

According to Swearingen, it was the return to Arlington and Polytrack that made the difference for the 3-year-old gelding who was the only maiden in the field.

“Last year, this was my best colt,” said the trainer.  “I had him here at Arlington and he was just working great over the Polytrack. There are horses for courses and this is one of those.  I ran him at Hawthorne in the spring and he just wasn’t as comfortable.  I knew when we got him over here, he’d turn into the horse we thought he’d be. He kept working better and better. I asked the owner should we try this and he said let’s give it a go.”

“I left the gate with him and he got comfortable - set his head,” added Martinez.  “At the five-sixteenths pole, I started to move on him and every time I asked him he kept picking up.  He just exploded.  He really flies and opens up on (Polytrack).”

The win was worth $50,958 to elevate his earnings to $59,238 for his owner-breeder.

Massive Explosion set the pace in the race through fractions of :22.90, :45.86, 1:10.50 and 1:23.74 before giving way to the winner.

“He felt really good.  I think he’s still learning,” said apprentice jockey Emmanuel Esquival, who rode the runner-up.  “He will be a really good horse.  He got a little tired in the end.  He just broke his maiden.  He relaxed really good.  Maybe I should have been closer (to the field) to save a little more horse, but he was out there on the lead so relaxed.  Even when he went on the track he was really relaxed.  In the end, we just got beat.”

Lassell was third and 3-5 betting favorite Feat the Kitten ran fourth in the field of 10 sophomores.  Ultimo Trago, Purging the Stone, Smokin Glock, Flathead River, Sir Bob and Lahshad completed the order of finish.

Reigning Catfish $64.40, $23.40 and $12.60.  Massive Explosion returned $21 and $13.40.  Lassell, at 8-1 odds, paid $6.20.  The top duo combined for an exacta worth $912.40 for $2 with the top three combining for a $3,105.50 trifecta for a 50-cent wager.

In the co-featured Purple Violet Stakes, Kenneth & Sarah Ramsey’s Bold Kitten cut the corner entering the stretch and held off a furious late rally from Pretty Jenny Stakes winner My Option to prevail by a half-length in the $100,000 race for state-bred 3-year-old fillies.  Wayne Catalano trained the victorious daughter of Kitten’s Joy who covered the mile over Polytrack in 1:37.54.

“I had a good post (three) and I took advantage of it,” said winning jockey Florent Geroux. “I was on the fence and I got lucky when (Beeway) opened the fence for me.  I just went through in there and my filly ran well.”

Bold Kitten won for the second time in six starts and earned $50,648 for the Purple Violet Stakes victory to boost her bankroll to $84,613 for her owner-breeder.

The Chris Block-trained My Option battled through most of the stretch and put a head in from at the eighth pole, but was unable to hold off the winner. “She ran good, just got beat. She ran hard,” said jockey Eduardo Perez of the runner-up and beaten favorite.

Alette was third in the field of eight 3-year-old fillies, followed by Beeway, Julmae, Scarlet Power, Misty Miranda and I O Ireland completed the order of finish.

Sent off at nearly 10-1 odds, Bold Kitten paid $21.80, $5.80 and $4.  My Option returned $2.60 and $2.20.  Alette paid $3.80.

Earlier in the day, Dare To Dream Stable, Little Bear Stables and Ingrid Mason’s Flower Spell cruised to front running victory in the $66,600 Meafara Stakes under jockey Rosemary Homeister Jr.  The Mason-trained daughter of Flower Alley won by six lengths and covered the six furlongs on Polytrack in 1:11.27 and paid $10, $6 and $4.40.

Ghost Flower ($16.80 and $7) and Gold Edge ($4.20) finished second and third, respectively, in the field of seven sophomore fillies.