FORWARD GAL STAKES | PURSE: $200,000 | 3-YEAR-OLD FILLIES | GRADE 2 | 7 FURLONGS
Stonestreet Stables' Kauai Katie continued her winning ways this year with yet another easy win for trainer Todd Pletcher, this time in the Grade 2, $200,000 Forward Gal at Gulfstream Park on Saturday. With jockey John Velazquez aboard, the Malibu Moon miss grabbed command from the start and never looked back while pulling away in the lane to be 5 1/2 lengths clear of My Happy Face on the wire.
Kauai Katie set splits of :22 4/5, :45 3/5 and 1:09 3/5 while tracked by Pow Wow Wow on the backstretch of the one-turn contest. That one dropped back a bit entering the lane, leaving the way clear for My Happy Face to make a run after saving ground down on the rail.
It wasn't enough to catch Kauai Katie, though, who was just too good for her rivals while completing seven furlongs over the fast dirt in 1:22.
"We expected to be in front, thinking that My Happy Face would show some speed, but I ended up on the lead straight out of the gate so I let her do her thing," Velazquez remarked. "When I asked for more at the quarter-pole she went instantly with ease, very impressive."
"We really weren't sure whether she would be on the lead or not, but once she broke so alertly there was no point to try and take her back," Pletcher agreed. "She ran the race we were hoping for."
Sent off the prohibitive 1-9 favorite, Kauai Katie paid $2.60, $2.20 and $2.10. My Happy Face was best of the rest, 2 3/4 lengths in front of Pow Wow Wow on the wire, while Fusaichiswonderful followed in fourth. Grade 2 heroine Spring Venture and Ashlee's Princess completed the order of finish.
Kauai Katie is now five-for-six, with her lone loss coming at 1 1/16 miles when fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies last November. Prior to that, the bay lass broke her maiden by 12 lengths while sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs at Saratoga, captured the Grade 2 Adirondack during the Spa meet going 6 1/2 furlongs and then shipped to Belmont Park to add the Grade 2 Matron to her resume while running six furlongs.
Kauai Katie made her seasonal debut on her official three-year-old birthday, taking the six-furlong, Grade 3 Old Hat by eight lengths on New Year's Day, and has more than earned back her purchase price of $490,000 as a Fasig-Tipton Florida two-year-old having now banked $588,000 in her career.
According to her trainer, the swift miss will stick to sprinting and be freshened up for her next start.
"I'd say that's it for her at Gulfstream with the next two races at a mile-and-a-sixteenth and a mile-and-an-eighth," Pletcher explained. "As I've said before the major summer goals for her will be the Prioress [going six furlongs on July 27] and Test [at seven furlongs on August 24] at Saratoga. She'll freshen up a little for now."
Sold for $90,000 as a Keeneland September yearling before coming to her current connections, Kauai Katie is out of the stakes-winning More Than Ready mare More Than Pretty, and her second dam is Pretty Livia, who also produced stakes heroine Ingrid the Gambler. This is also the family of Grade 3 winner Cimarron Secret and Grade 1-placed multiple stakes victress Cojinx.
Kauai Katie is a full sister to Grade 3 victress Winding Way, who suffered her first loss when fourth in the L.A. Woman last October.