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Zipse At The Track

Princess of Sylmar ready to pounce in the Cat Cay


Princess of Sylmar, one of the most accomplished three-year-old fillies ever to be denied an Eclipse Award, makes her long awaited return to the races Sunday at the Big A. The occasion for the four-year-old filly’s debut will be the $100,000 Cat Cay, a one-turn, flat mile race that also features the highly regarded Wedding Toast. 


When last seen, Princess of Sylmar ran the only poor race of her career when she struggled home to finish 6th in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Santa Anita. Before that, though, she was good as gold, with only a second place finish in the Gazelle interrupting a run that included romps in both the Busanda and Busher, over Aqueduct's inner strip, before a historic grade 1 streak.


A longshot winner of the Kentucky Oaks, Princess of Sylmar more than proved that big win was no fluke with dominating follow up scores in both the Coaching Club American Oaks and the Alabama at Saratoga. Taking it up one more notch, in her fourth consecutive grade 1 win, the daughter of Majestic Warrior faced elders for the first time and took down the three-time champion Royal Delta in the Beldame Invitational in impressive fashion.


Demonstrating a strong sense of sportsmanship, owner/breeder Ed Stanco, of King of Prussia Stable, altered original plans to call it a season after the Beldame, and supplemented the first horse he ever bred for the Breeders' Cup. A poor start to the race was the beginning of a bad afternoon for Princess of Sylmar. Adding insult to injury, the filly that she had defeated in the Kentucky Oaks, Beholder, went on to win the race, and snare the championship from the Eastern star.


On Sunday, Javier Castellano will ride the Todd Pletcher trained filly for the fifth consecutive time, as the pair breaks from the three-hole. She’s been pegged as the even-money favorite in the compact field of six. 


Pletcher thought the timing was right for the Pennsylvania-bred to kick off her season in the Cat Cay. 


"After they switched the Ruffian to May, she was far enough in her training that we decided to target the Cat Cay," said Pletcher. "We like the spacing from this race to the [Grade 1] Ogden Phipps [on June 7 at Belmont]. It's not so much the size of the purse, but rather because this is the right place to get her season started." 


Working well for her return to the races, it is a start to the season that many will expect to result in a victory for the classy filly who has won 8-of-11 lifetime. While there does look to be a fair amount of early speed for Princess of Sylmar to run at, there is also the talent of Wedding Toast to worry about. 


After paying off the place bettors in her first-out, the Godolphin owned daughter of Street Sense has rattled off four straight, highlighted by a 14 ½ length optional claimer at Belmont, and a wire-to-wire score in the Grade 3 Comely at Aqueduct on Thanksgiving weekend. Like Princess of Sylmar, Wedding Toast will be making her first start since November on Sunday. Jose Lezcano, will have the riding assignment, and the pair will break from the outside spot. She has been installed as the 6-5 morning-line second choice. 


The rest of the Cat Cay field includes Flash Forward, Villette, Highestmaintenance, and Montana Native. In my estimation, the four likely will only be looking for a minor award, considering the top two.


In fact, let me take that one step farther … Wedding Toast is strictly the one to beat for second place, because you know that I am all in for another Princess of Sylmar victory. 


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Older Comments about Princess of Sylmar ready to pounce in the Cat Cay...

Bring on Beholder. I'd love to see Beholder win her first race as well, we could have a very fun three way rivalry this year.
Midnight Lucky was actually nominated for this race. Maybe timing was off, or Baffert didn't want to face Princess too soon, or he found something out west.
Still not a peep about Midnight Lucky???... hmm
Wedding toast is ok,but in the realm of things. Arguably P.O.S. or Beholder(whoever you like) along with Close Hatches are the 3 overwhelming leaders of their division. If she can't dust off this group,then she is in trouble. Thankfully at the beginning of the year,Todd is calling the shots. Evidence is that she is starting out here,i would imagine her nest race will be on Oaks or Derby day at CD. Then her showdown with Beholder and Hatches on Belmont Day. I do not think Hatches or Beholder will run at CD. I would think Hatches would run at Oaklawn.Who knows were Beholder is headed to. Sullivan is positive she will run at Belmont,i am abit more skeptical. I think she will just stay home and await the Breeders Cup Classic against the boys. She will clean up on the local stakes and take her shot in the brightest of lights.
Buds this is not even a race.To be honest with you,it is an overhyped Allowance race with a Stakes label to it.
"one of the most accomplished three-year-old fillies ever to be denied an Eclipse Award" I love this line. nice!
She gets plenty of credit. But let's face it, this is a race shorter than what's in her comfort zone and this is her first race back after a long freshening. Everybody agrees she SHOULD win, and I for one will be rooting for her, but this is horse racing. Anything can happen in horse racing, and Wedding Toast is no slouch.
  • POS1215 · i agree with you but it always seems like everyone doubts this horse no matter what she does. · 1324 days ago
Why does POS still get no credit??
I remember when they scoffed at Carl Nafzger for running Unbridled against Housebuster at 7F.
TM I just hope she comes back as strong as she was b4 the BC. I think she will destroy this field, too much class
As far as the distance of her first race is concerned. I recall that many had the same apprehensions about Palace Malice debut race at GP. Elite horses will win at any distance on any track. If they can't ,they are not elite. Just excuses then,The stars come out running not prepping. This is definately not a race to bet her,the price will be to short. But bet against her if you think that there is a horse in the race better than her. Unless you think that,keep your money in your pocket and look for another race. Buds the concern was not that she would be ruined by so called over racing. The concern was that she would lay an egg and posibly get hurt due to the fatigue and the travel. She did lay the egg that day,with the stumble at the gate she was very and extremely fortunate to not of gotten hurt. All that to satisfy the personal goals of the owners. Mase alot and still makes alot of sense. Give me a break.
I think Javi and Todd are going to have to experiment putting her closer to the pace in this one. Not to challenge for the lead early or push the pace faster, but just to make sure she does not have so much ground to cover in the final stretch. She can make up 2 or 3 lengths easily, but any more than that against the talent she is now facing at the shorter distance she is now going is asking for trouble. She'll have to do the same thing against tougher competition in the Ogden Phipps.
If Wedding Toast scratches maybe she'll win.
mike- we should all bet against her, cuz I read here a few months ago that IF she ran in the Breeders cup she would be ruinrd by over racing her... must be true. was she denied an elipse award or did she lose it on the track? please.
I don't think 1 mile is Princess of Sylmar's best distance and coming back off a layoff is always tough, but she seems to tower over these fillies in class. I might try to beat her in this race, maybe with Wedding Toast if the odds are OK or Montana Native as a longshot. I hope Princess runs well and this is the start of a great year. The Ogden Phipps could be one of the best races of the year.
Welcome back Princess, looking forward to another long and successful campaign!
The Ogden Phipps isn't a handicap anymore, it will be run under allowance conditions this year.
Princess started last year off slow and track will be speed biased... if one of the front runners ran this winter and looks good, might be a good win ticket
Montana Native is one of my favorites, but I think the best she can hope for against Princess and Wedding Toast is 3rd place. Looking forward to Princess' return!

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Meet Brian Zipse 

Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and American Pharoah. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. 

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, or ZATT for short, and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as co-hosting the popular racing show, HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

Brian's work has also been published on several leading industry sites. He has consulted for leading contest site Derby Wars, is both a Hall of Fame and NTRA poll voter, and is a Vox Populi committee member. 

A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.


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