Scene after the Davona Dale:
Cathryn Sophia dominates her first race at one mile. Some were saying she looked so good that she could give the undefeated Songbird a run for her money.
Scene after the Ashland:
Cathryn Sophia loses for the first time in her career, finishing third by half a length. All the accolades disappeared. Now, she was “just a one-turn filly.”
Even trainer John Sevis lost faith, pulling her from Kentucky Oaks consideration, until illness caused Songbird’s defection.
Scene Pre-Kentucky Oaks:
Rachel’s Valentina is 2-1 while Cathryn Sophia, once the undisputed No. 2 filly in the nation, floats up to as high as 8-1.
Running of the Kentucky Oaks:
Rachel’s Valentina and Cathryn Sophia break on top together and clear the field, while Terra Promessa speeds up the rail to the front.
First quarter in :23.32, with Terra Promessa setting the pace and Rachel’s Valentina settling back in second. Cathryn Sophia rates back in fourth place, about three lengths off the pace.
The pace slows down some, with the half going in :47.87, an internal split of 24.57 seconds. The positions remain relatively unchanged.
As they move into the far turn, Cathry Sophia and Rachel’s Valentina hook up again, gaining ground on Terra Promessa, who ran the six furlongs in 1:12.60 (an internal split of :24.73).
Into the stretch, Lewis Bay joins the fray, making it four across the track, but, suddenly, Cathryn Sophia breaks loose!
In an instant, she has put daylight between herself and the other three, and is still going easily. At the sixteenth pole, she’s four lengths in front and gearing down to the finish.
The final time was 1:50.53.
Post Kentucky Oaks:
Vindication was felt. I had done nothing but praise this filly, even said she may be better than Songbird, much to the surprise of many.
When she lost in the Ashland, there were plenty of “I told you so’s” but I refused to give up, after hearing jockey Javier Castellano say he felt that she would move forward off the effort.
Obviously she did.
This effort also seems to prove that trainers don’t always know what’s best either, as Cathryn Sophia ended up dominating Land Over Sea, a filly that Songbird had handled easily all year.
Trainer John Servis knew his filly was coming into the race well, but even he was surprised by her dominance. “She improved so much since the Ashland, I felt really good. I had a little concern about how she would be in the paddock, but once I saw how she was I felt pretty good.”
He also noted that his reason for avoiding the race, should Songbird have entered, was because it seemed “the only way to have a chance to beat her is to run with her.” Because of that, he didn’t feel the race would be a good fit for his filly, while also going nine furlongs for the first time.
Given how good Cathryn Sophia was on Saturday, I don’t think that would have been an issue.
This race goes to show that you can’t judge a horse off of one subpar performance, especially one in which the losing margin was a mere half-length.
Those saying that she she showed that she couldn’t handle the distance judged too harshly, too soon. If it were any other filly, testing a new track, a new distance, and a second turn for the first time, most would be impressed with the effort.
Instead everyone jumped ship, and Cathryn Sophia made them look foolish today.
She came back, much improved, displaying that same devastating turn of foot that won her the Forward Gal and Davona Dale. She came back to win the biggest prize of her division. She came back to prove her doubters dead wrong.