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Aaron previews the 2022 Tale of the Cat Stakes at Saratoga, then gives his top picks and longshots. Southern District is favored to win his 4th straight race as he makes his stakes debut for trainer Chad Brown. Tell us YOUR thoughts in the Comments section!
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The track press release:
Reeves Thoroughbred Racing’s Isolate will seek two straight stakes victories when he targets Wednesday’s $135,000 Tale of the Cat at Saratoga Race Course, a seven-furlong sprint for 4-year-olds and upward that have not won a graded stakes race this year.
The son of Mark Valeski was a frontrunning winner of the Work All Week on June 11 at Hawthorne Race Course last out, defeating subsequent Grade 1 Alfred G. Vanderbilt runner-up Kneedeepinsnow.
Since transferring to trainer Tom Amoss in the fall, Isolate has registered three victories, which include two open-lengths wins over the Fair Grounds main track in addition to his last out stakes coup.
Isolate will see added ground in the Tale of the Cat, which will be his first start over six furlongs since a distant third in the one-turn mile Grade 3 Nashua in November 2020 at Aqueduct Racetrack.
“The race will be a bit of a test for us determining just how far he wants to go,” said Amoss, who entered Thursday just four wins shy of 4,000 for his career. “He’s a brilliant sprinter and he just is coming off a stakes win on the front end. That extra eighth of a mile is something we’re going to learn a lot about when we run him. It’s a restricted stake which limits the field a little bit, so hopefully that makes a difference as well.”
Isolate has recorded three serious moves over the Saratoga main track, most recently going a half-mile in 49.60 seconds on Sunday. He drilled through a half-mile the week prior in 46 seconds flat – the fastest of 128 recorded works at the distance.
The consistent Isolate boasts a record of 10-5-1-2 with victories over three different tracks.
A win would also provide Reeves Thoroughbred Racing owners Dean and Patti Reeves with a third stakes victory this meet. The Suwannee, Georgia residents visited the winner’s circle after triumphs with City Man in the Grade 3 Forbidden Apple and Big Invasion in the Grade 3 Quick Call.
“After a few weeks with the horse I told Dean that this was his best horse and he’s gone on to prove that,” Amoss said. “We’re looking forward to keeping the Reeves train rolling. They’ve had a great meet so far.”
Tyler Gaffalione will pilot Isolate from post 1.
Double B Racing Stables’ Repo Rocks will seek his first stakes victory after placing against graded stakes company on three occasions for trainer Greg DiPrima.
The Virginia-bred Tapiture 4-year-old was a distant third to Life Is Good in the Grade 2 John A. Nerud on July 2 at Belmont Park last out. He finished second to Drafted in the Grade 3 Toboggan in February at the Big A before finishing third in the Grade 3 Tom Fool the following month at the same track. He made his debut for DiPrima in April a winning one, capturing a six-furlong allowance optional claimer at Belmont by 5 3/4 lengths.
Andrew Wolfsont will pick up the mount from post 4.
Klaravich Stables’ Southern District will attempt his fourth straight victory while making his stakes debut for four-time Spa leading trainer Chad Brown. The 4-year-old son of Union Rags ran through his conditions in his last three starts, which all took place over different racetracks. He will be cutting back in distance from a one-turn mile on June 10 at Churchill Downs, where he garnered a 101 Beyer from a two-length win.
Purchased for $335,000 at the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, Southern District is out of the graded stakes-winning Include mare Open Water, who produced two stakes winners on grass.
Southern District will be piloted by Manny Franco from post 3.
John Fanelli, LC Racing, Paul Braverman and Timothy Pinch’s Awesome Gerry will attempt his third victory this year for trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. The gray son of Liam’s Map enters off a third in the Hanshin on July 4 at Churchill Downs, which came after two consecutive seven-furlong wins on the Kentucky circuit.Awesome Gerry has garnered stakes black type in each of his years of training. After finishing second in the Jean Laffite at Delta Downs during his juvenile year, he followed with a third in Gulfstream Park’s Mucho Macho Man. He also was second in the Robert Hilton Memorial last August at Charles Town.
Irad Ortiz, Jr. will ride from post 2.
Completing the field is Sandford Goldfarb, Madaket Stables, Alan Kahn and the Estate of Ira Davis’ Mr Phil, who will look to make amends following a distant fifth to Jackie’s Warrior in the Grade 2 Ture North on June 10 at Belmont Park. The 5-year-old Mr Speaker gelding is 4-2-2-0 at the Tale of the Cat distance, including his most recent victory on May 22 at Belmont, where he registered a 101 Beyer in a non-winners of three allowance optional claimer.Kendrick Carmouche, the pilot in his last four starts, will ride from post 5.
The Tale of the Cat honors the 1997 King’s Bishop winner [now run as the H. Allen Jerkens Memorial] who went on to have a highly prosperous stud career. The son of Storm Cat, trained by John Forbes, produced multiple champion Gio Ponti as well as Grade 1-winners Stopchargingmaria, My Trusty Cat and Lion Heart.
The Tale of the Cat is carded as Race 8 on Wednesday’s 10-race card. First post is 1:05 p.m. Eastern.
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