Favored Warren’s Veneda
took advantage of a picture trip to win the $100,000 Cat’s Cradle Handicap Sunday at Betfair Hollywood Park.
Content to track the moderate pace set by Sister Kate and Ciao Bella Luna, Warren’s Veneda cruised up outside that pair under jockey Joe Talamo approaching the stretch, gained the lead with about an eighth of a mile remaining and held Curvy Cat safe in the final sixteenth.
The win by three-quarters of a length was the fifth in 10 starts for the daughter of Affirmative and the Flying Continental mare More Cal Bread. She’s earned $282,064 for owner-breeder Benjamin C. Warren.
In completing the 7 ½ furlongs over Cushion Track in 1:29.72, Warren’s Veneda gave trainer Craig Lewis his second Cat’s Cradle victory. Lewis had won previously with Valentine Dancer for owners Al and Sandee Kirkwood in 2003.
He’s the fourth trainer to win the race named in honor of California’s Horse of the Year of 1996, joining John Dolan and Hall of Famers Richard Mandella and Jerry Hollendorfer.
In becoming the fifth 3-year-old to win the Cat’s Cradle – which had its inaugural running in 1997 - Warren’s Veneda paid $4.60, $3.40 and $2.20 as the 13-10 choice.
Worse than third only twice in her career, Warren’s Veneda is undefeated in three appearances at Betfair Hollywood Park. Prior to Sunday, the chestnut had defeated maidens in the Alphabet Kisses on the California Gold Rush program April 27 and won a turf allowance for California breds May 16.
“I was glad I was able to get to the outside,’’ said Talamo. “That was the only concern for (Lewis) and I. It looked like (Sister Kate) was the only speed and I was fortunate enough to get around her.
“She’s such a classy filly and obviously loves this track. I worked her before her last race (a 7 ¼ length optional claiming victory Oct. 13 at Santa Anita) and she’s even better now than she was then. I think the farther the better with her.’’
Curvy Cat, who won the B. Thoughtful Stakes for Hollendorfer at the same distance during the Spring/Summer meet, rallied from last to finish 5 ¼ lengths clear of stablemate Sister Kate.
The 5-1 fourth choice returned $5.40 and $3.40 while the show price on Sister Kate, the race outsider at 7-1, was $3.60.
Qiaona, who was seeking her first win in her sixth start over a synthetic surface, and Ciao Bella Luna, the 5-2 second choice, completed the order of finish.
Racing resumes Thursday. Post time is 12:30 p.m. Track gates at Betfair Hollywood Park will open at 9:55 a.m. for simulcasts.
The Betfair Hollywood Park Players’ Club will be open for dark day simulcasts Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Admission is free.