Pam and Marty Wygod’s 4-year-old Kentucky homebred colt Courageous Cat was last seen finishing second to international champion filly Goldikova in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) at Santa Anita on Nov. 7, and comes out for another campaign as the horse to beat in the Canadian Turf Stakes with Garrett Gomez flying in to ride for trainer Bill Mott.
Courageous Cat is an impeccably bred son of Storm Cat out of the Wygod’s Grade 1 winner Tranquility Lake. He held a 1 ½ lengths lead in mid-stretch in the Breeders’ Cup before giving way grudgingly to lose by a half-length with former Mott-trained charge Court Vision finishing third.
Courageous Cat’s career rose quickly last year after he broke his maiden on the turf at Belmont in June. He captured the A Gift overnight stakes at Belmont and the Hall of Fame (G2) at Saratoga to make it three straight and finished a close-up third in the Jamaica Handicap (G3) at Belmont on Oct. 10 before going into the Breeders’ Cup as a 23-to-1 longshot.
A threat to Courageous Cat and the rest of the field in the Canadian Turf will be the prospect that Farnsworth Farms’ 7-year-old gelding Jet Propulsion could get loose on the lead as he did last out winning the $300,000 Sunshine Millions Turf wire-to-wire by two lengths over the course on Jan. 30.
Jockey Julien Leparoux gets a return call on Jet Propulsion for trainer Marty Wolfson, who claimed the son of Double Honor on behalf of Farnsworth for $50,000 when he won an optional/claiming test in his previous start at Calder on Dec. 12 in a similarly easy fashion. Jet Propulsion was a Graded stakes winner earlier in his career.
Quiet Harbor & Backseat Rhythm Meet Again in Honey Fox
Stuart Janney III’s Quiet Harbor was sent off at odds of 18-to-1 last out when she posted a head victory in the Marshua’s River Stakes over the Gulftsream course on Jan. 16 with Paul Pompa, Jr.’s Grade 1 winner Backseat Rhythm seventh in a wild finish. The two will meet again in a bulky field of 14 fillies and mares entered in the Honey Fox Stakes.
Remarkably, Quiet Harbor was bidding for a fifth consecutive victory in the Marshua’s River at long odds as she made her first start since capturing the Violet Stakes (G3) over the Meadowlands turf course on Oct. 10 for trainer Shug McGaughey. Jockey Eddie Castro has been aboard throughout the streak and retains the mount on the 5-year-old homebred mare by Silver Deputy.
Backseat Rhythm is another prize mount that brings champion jockey Garrett Gomez in from California for the day. Trained by Rick Dutrow, the 5-year-old daughter of El Corredor was beaten only two lengths by Quiet Harbor in the Marshua’s River as she bids to regain the form she showed winning the Lake Placid Stakes (G2) at Saratoga and Garden City Stakes (G1) at Belmont as a 3-year-old.
Completing the field for the Honey Fox are Doubledown Stable’s Belmont Cat, Frank Calabrese’s Romacaca, Fred Seitz’ Meadow Saffron, Oak Bluff Stables’ Akilina, Dell Ridge Farm’s Bluegrass Princess, J. Mack Robinson’s pair of Cherokee Queen and Drop a Line, A. Claire Silva, Jr.’s Kitty Cat Express, William Backer’s Sales Tax; Blazing Meadows Farm’s Afternoon Stroll and Bart Evans’ Wasted Tears.
Michael and Lenora Paulson’s Our Dahlia and Robert Cromartie’s Yes She’s a Lady are on the ‘also-eligible’ list.