ELMONT, N.Y. – Catch a Glimpse held off a late challenge from Time and Motion to keep her winning streak intact in capturing Saturday’s Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Oaks Invitational for 3-year-old fillies on Stars & Stripes Day at Belmont Park.
The Mark Casse-trained bay filly set the pace and fended off Time and Motion’s stretch run for a half-length victory on the firm turf. By taking the 38th edition of the Belmont Oaks, Catch a Glimpse clinched a spot in the Grade 1, $2 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf Division in November at Santa Anita Park.
Her winning time for the 1 ¼-mile race was 1:59.87 in the longest race of her career. It was the eighth consecutive victory for Catch a Glimpse, who is undefeated in seven graded stakes start, including two Grade 1 wins.
“The 1 1/4 miles was a legitimate concern; she had never been beyond 1 1/16 miles,” said Norm Casse, the assistant and son of Mark. “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 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.”
Jockey Florent Geroux has won all seven of his starts aboard Catch a Glimpse, including a victory in the 2015 Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
“She broke very well from the gate and from there I just kept going as fast as I could,” Geroux said. “When I asked her to leave from home she gave me a good kick and was very brave all the way to the wire.”
Catch a Glimpse, the 3-1 second choice, led a field of 13 in posting an opening quarter-mile in 22.28 seconds, the half in 49.36, three-quarters in 1:13.87 and a mile in 1:36.70.
“She was the quickest of the race so it’s not like I had an outside post with a horse with no speed,” Geroux said. Speed is always dangerous no matter what the distance.”
Owned in partnership by Gary Barber, Michael James Ambler and Windways Farm, Catch a Glimpse returned $8.80 for a $2 win wager and improved her career earnings to $1,748,052.
“She’ll definitely go up to Saratoga to train; I’m not sure what her next race will be. It’s always been race-to-race with her,” Casse said.
Time and Motion, trained by Jimmy Toner, moved from fifth at the one-mile mark to just a half-length behind Catch a Glimpse entering the stretch. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez tried to move her on the outside, but Catch a Glimpse fended off the charge.
“We were in perfect position and everything, but the other horse kept running,” Velazquez said. “She ran hard but couldn’t get there in time.”
Coolmore, the Irish-bred chestnut filly for trainer Aidan O’Brien, stayed near the pace-setters before settling for third in her North American debut.
“I thought they would press her [Catch a Glimpse] a little bit more, but they didn’t,” Toner said. “Something happened [with Coolmore at the break] and I thought [Harmonize] might put on a little pressure since they put the blinkers on her. I don’t know. We gave it a try. She was too far in front.”
Completing the order of finish was Pricedtoperfection, Harmonize, Auntie Joy, Last Waltz, Noble Beauty, Decked Out, Magnanime, Secure Access and Land Over Sea.
O’Brien’s Ballydoyle, who was the 2-1 favorite and winner of the prestigious Group 1 One Thousand Guineas Stakes in May at Newmarket, fell back to 10th place at the quarter-mile mark and never regrouped, finishing last.