John Oxley’s Catherinethegreat ($4.80) stamped herself as a strong candidate for the FTBOA Florida Sire Stakes series while graduating by 10 ¼ lengths in Saturday’s fourth race at Gulfstream Park.
The Mark Casse-trained 2-year-old filly, who was purchased for $170,000 at the 2017 OBS October sale, ran five furlongs over a sloppy track in 57.83 seconds under jockey Nik Juarez. The Florida-bred filly is a daughter of promising stallion Uncaptured, a multiple graded-stakes winner campaigned by Oxley and Casse.
Catherinethegreat, who finished second in her May 25 debut, pressed the pace set by Lady Dude into the stretch before drawing away to a clear victory.
“That was pretty impressive the way she ran. She’d been training great,” said Allen Hardy, Casse’s assistant trainer who is based at Gulfstream Park for the Spring and Summer Meets for the first time. “When she ran the last time it was a little sloppy and she ran great on it.”
Hardy is an Ocala native who worked as a Marion County, Florida, firefighter before going to work for Casse in 2011.
“I’ve been traveling all over for Mark – New York, California,” said Hardy, whose mother Kimberly Hardy is a former trainer. “Mark’s been great and gave me the opportunity to come down here and run the string. I’m having a good time and having fun.”
Earlier on Saturday’s program, Zipping ($10.60) once again relished the sloppy going to score by a length in the third race, which was transferred from turf to the main track. Bred, owned and trained by Roger Laurin, the Florida-bred 4-year-old son of Adios Charlie chased heavily favored Kroy into the stretch before kicking clear and comfortably holding off Hy Riverside. Kroy, a multiple stakes winner on turf who was favored at 1-2, tired and finished third, another 1 ½ lengths behind.
Ridden by Jose Batista, Zipping ran a mile in 1:36.28 to run his record to third wins in five starts on wet tracks.