Sweet Cat will try to stamp herself as a grass dash specialist on Wednesday afternoon at Belmont Park when she faces the starter versus 8 other fast fillies in the $85,000 Thirty Flags Stakes at Belmont Park in Long Island, New York. Javier Castellano, who guided Sweet Cat to a spiffy 2-length triumph in a 5-furlong turf allowance at Gulfstream Park in late March, will be aboard again for Todd Pletcher. The pair will launch from post 3 of 9 fillies scheduled to blitz 6 furlongs on the sod at Big Sandy. Post time is 4:02pm ET.
Sweet Cat has sprinted on turf just twice. She was a 2-length victor on both occasions. Although effective at 2-turns last season as a freshman, including placings in the Grade 3 Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland as well and the Grade 2, $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Churchill Downs, a lackluster seasonal debut at a route of ground caused Pletcher and Eclipse President, Aron Wellman, to rethink the most appropriate style and race path for the strong daughter of Kitten’s Joy.
“After Sweet Cat fizzled the final quarter going 1 1/16-miles at Gulfstream in February, Todd (Pletcher) and I huddled up and determined that over the winter as she developed, Sweet Cat had adopted the shape and look of her broodmare sire, Carson City, who was predominantly a sprinter,” Wellman explained. “So, rather than trying to force 2-turn races on Sweet Cat, we opted to revert to a sprint. It was just what the doctor ordered. Now that we know what her strength is, it makes it easier to identify proper races to make her as productive as possible. It will be a feather in her cap to add a Stakes win to her resume to go along with such prestigious Graded placings.”
Sweet Cat has 3 recorded workouts to her credit since her allowance win, all of which took place on the dirt at Palm Meadows the past 3 weeks. Her final move registered as a bullet when she zipped through a half-lap in :47 4/5. After the drill, Pletcher proclaimed the bay beauty, “All set,” for the Thirty Flags.
“Sweet Cat has trained forwardly since the allowance race,” Pletcher confirmed. “I think her last 2 works were her best ever on the dirt. It’s not a cupcake spot atBelmonton Wednesday by any means, but we will lead her over there thinking they’ve got Sweet Cat to beat. We’re very pleased with her present condition and expect a good effort.”
The Thirty Flags Stakes has attracted a mixed-bag of sophomore fillies. Sweet Cat headlines the field and has been installed as the prohibitive 8-5 morning line favorite. Let’s Get Married, who is a perfect 2 for 2 for Graham Motion, will be a clear-cut second choice in the wagering and poses the biggest danger to Sweet Cat.