|Catalissa Returns to the Winner's
Circle in the $40,000 Spring Stakes at SHRP
Texas (March 20, 2004) - Houston Texan owner Bob McNair has
a rising star off the football field, his 4-year-old colt, Catalissa,
who captured tonight’s feature race, the $40,000 Spring Stakes.
Bred in Texas by Stonerside Stable and trained by Michael Stidham,
Catalissa has now won three stakes races at Sam Houston Race Park,
improving his record to four wins from eight starts at the northwest
Houston racetrack. As a two-year-old, the son of Tale of the Cat
won the $50,000 Groovy Stakes and returned to the winner’s
circle in the $35,000 Texas Heritage Stakes last March. Tonight’s
win was impressive as the bay colt surged past his six rivals, crossing
the wire of the seven-furlong contest in a time of 1:22.56.
Ted Gondron, who has done a fine job for Stidham throughout the
2003/2004 Thoroughbred Meeting, was given the call this evening
and had nothing but praise for Catalissa.
"I knew he was pretty talented and I was just trying to get
him to relax," said Gondron. "He was well placed throughout
the race and I had a lot of horse left coming down the stretch."
Catalissa was saddled this evening by Rigoberto Rosas, assistant
to Stidham, who oversees the Sam Houston Race Park based Thoroughbreds.
Rosas was not sure where Catalissa would make his next start.
Veteran stakes runner, Won C C was sent to the lead by John Jacinto
and tried admirably to hold off the winner. The six-year-old gelding
is owned and trained by Dr. Kamal Sheena.
"He gave me everything he had," admitted Jacinto. "Doc
had him ready and he waited until I asked him. I could see we had
Front Nine beat and then that other horse just came closing. He
dug in but could not hold him off. He ran a great race."
Sheena indicated that Won C C will make his next start in the
Premiere Stakes on opening day at Lone Star Park.
Post time favorite, Front Nine was reunited with jockey Cathleen
Garner, who rode the bay gelding to victory in the 2001 Friendship
Stakes at Louisiana Downs. Owned and bred by Ed Few, Front Nine
has won nine of his 29 lifetime starts for trainer Tommie Morgan.
"He was so ready coming out of that five furlong race at
Delta and he ran easy on the front," said Garner. "I saw
my name on the overnight on the computer from home and thought "there
must be a mistake! I drove in the next day and Tommie told me it
wasn’t a mistake that since he knew I wanted to ride him.
He may have won at six furlongs but we both knew that seven was
not his distance."
Morgan conceded that seven furlongs might have been a stretch
for Front Nine. He will give him 30 days off and head to Lone Star
Park with the Texas Million Sprint on Memorial Day Monday his next
Catalissa, sent off as the third betting choice, paid $9.00 for
the win. The 6-2 exacta returned $71.00 and the trifecta with Term
Sheet paid $259.40. Front Nine, Herve, Leo’s Last Hurrahy
and Senaca Rock completed the order of finish. Agrivating General
was an early scratch.