January 21, 2021

Cairo Cat scratches his way to victory at Saratoga

The field breaks from the gate over a sloppy track at Saratoga (c) NYRA/Adam Mooshian/Adam Coglianese Photography

by Teresa Genaro

Originally scheduled to run on the grass, CAIRO CAT made plenty of noise when his race was switched the dirt on August 11 at Saratoga.

Like so many other races this summer, the 1 1/16-miles contest was switched to seven furlongs on the dirt when rain soaked the turf courses. After running eighth in a race earlier this meet with the same grass conditions, Cairo Cat closed late on the dirt to get up by a head, paying $38.20 to win.

Trained by Ken McPeek and owned by Walking L Thoroughbreds, Cairo Cat was represented in the winner’s circle by his exercise rider and assistant trainer Danny Ramsey.

“When Ken got him, he said, ‘Danny, get on him and tell me what you think,’” Ramsey related. “I told him, ‘He’s nice. He’s smooth. He’s aggressive on the track.’ That’s all you can ask for in a baby.”

The Cairo Prince colt was green out of the gate, and Ramsey said that he continues to have trouble focusing, though he was aided in his win by the addition of a shadowroll.

“Today he focused very, very, very well,” said Ramsey. “When he really puts it together, he’ll be all right.”

Bred in Kentucky by Clifton Farm, Cairo Cat is out of the Tale of the Cat mare La Belle Cat. He was a $130,000 purchase at the 2017 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky July yearling sale.

On the same card, NETWORK EFFECT powered to a three-length win over seven furlongs on the dirt in his debut for trainer Chad Brown and owner Klaravich Stables. Tracking the pace from several lengths back under Javier Castellano, the chestnut colt tipped wide coming into the stretch and easily drew away, paying a relatively generous $8.60, given the connections.

“I breezed him a couple of times and I like the way he did it in the morning,” Castellano said. “Chad took his time with him, and he was very professional today.”

A $95,000 purchase at this year’s OBS sale in April, Network Effect was bred in Florida by Louis Jolin. By Mark Valeski, he’s out of the Put It Back mare Sandy Key Gal.

“He’s a nice horse,” Castellano added. “He sat right behind the speed on the inside and took dirt in his face. He cut the corner and stepped up. It was a dream trip and the horse got it done.”

Kicking off the day’s two-year-old races on the Fourstardave Stakes (G1) undercard was UNIONIZER, owned and bred by Peter Vegso and trained by Bill Mott.

Running on the lead from the break to the wire, Unionizer held off a closing Johnny’s Bobby to win by a half-length, running the seven furlongs on the dirt in 1:26.29. Making his first start last month at Belmont Park, the bay colt broke badly and never factored.

Another Florida-bred, Unionizer is by Union Rags and out of the Unbridled’s Song mare Mind Eraser. He is the mare’s fifth foal, fourth to make it to the races, and third winner. He was ridden by Junior Alvarado.