Category: Archive

Racing Roundup: Kenneally’s ‘Cat’ is on the bound

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

The Waterford-born and raised Kenneally, who is enjoying the most successful year in his young training career, now gets the added joy and pressure of spending the winter with what appears to be a genuine Derby contender. Catcominatcha proved a determined winner of the $116,700 Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs on Saturday, getting up by a neck over High Cotton.
Catcominatcha, a 2-year-old son by Tale of the Cat out of Certainly a Star (by Red Ransom), was kept off the pace in the middle of the track by jockey Rafael Bejarano. They gained ground around the turn, then had to pray for an opening to develop while pounding down the stretch. The hole opened and Kenneally’s colt responded. He got the mile on a fast dirt track in 1:36.38. He paid $18.20 as the fourth choice among the betting public.
Catcominatcha is owned by his breeder, Thomas McCann of Ohio. The Iroquois was his second career victory from six starts. He now has earnings of just over $200,000.
“He hasn’t run a bad race since his first day out,” said Kenneally. “He’s improving all the time. He’s a gutsy little horse.” Kenneally said that Catcominatcha is likely to make his next start at Churchill on Nov. 26 in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes.

The name McCann seemed to be the key to tabbing a stakes winner last weekend. Santa Anita’s annual Cal Cup day was headed by the $250,000 California Cup Classic Handicap for older horses and Pat Gallagher’s pupil, McCann’s Mojave, reported home first by a length.
Despite taking a bad step out of the gate, McCann’s Mojave quickly gathered himself and set a quick pace, getting a half-mile in 46.2 and three-quarters in 1:09.4. The 5-year-old was joined at the top of the lane by Desert Boom, but shook that one off with encouragement by Jose Valdivia, Jr. to stop the teletimer in 1:48.1 after nine furlongs.
“Turning for home, he felt like a monster,” Valdivia said. “He just kept digging and fighting, that’s what’s so great about him. When he looks another horse in the eye, it’s a dog fight, and I just love to be on that horse because he doesn’t give up very easily.”
The modus operandi for McCann’s Mojave had been sprinting. While trained by Leonard Dorfman, he won a Grade 2 sprint in March 2004 at Santa Anita, then finished second at Churchill Downs to eventual Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Speightstown. He made his first start for Gallagher this June, winning the ungraded Ack Ack Handicap at Hollywood Park. He was then second in a Grade 1 sprint in Inglewood, before finishing unplaced in two more sprints. In the most recent of those, the October 8 Ancient Title at Santa Anita, he pressed a pace that yielded fractions of 21.0 and 43.1 for the quarter and half, respectively.
“We just told Jose to put him on the lead and if he goes that far, he goes that far,” Gallagher said. “We always wanted to stretch him out. They went pretty fast, but he kept it up.”
McCann’s Mojave now has seven wins from 15 starts and earnings of $555,380. Breeders’ Alix Nikki Hunt and Mike Willman own McCann’s Mojave, a son of Memo.

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