Cat On Base blazes in Emerald Downs feature | Horse Racing

Cat On Base, ridden by Jennifer Whitaker, tied a world record by running 5-½furlongs in 1:01.37 Saturday, April 14, at Emerald Downs.  - Photo courtesy Erin Palmer/Emerald Downs
Cat On Base, ridden by Jennifer Whitaker, tied a world record by running 5-½furlongs in 1:01.37 Saturday, April 14, at Emerald Downs.
— image credit: Photo courtesy Erin Palmer/Emerald Downs

Cat On Base, a 5-year-old Washington-bred gelding, put the exclamation point on trainer Howard Belvoir’s torrid start to the Emerald Downs season Saturday with a world record-tying performance in the $12,100 feature race for 3-year-olds and up.

A son of Harbor the Gold, Cat On Base ran 5-½ furlongs in 1:01.37 (1:01-1/5) and scored a 4-½-length victory over 19-to-1 long shot Emancipated in the Oddfella’s Pub and Eatery Purse.

Ridden by Jennifer Whitaker at 120 lbs., Cat On Base paid $7.40, $4.40 and $3.40 as the second choice in the field of eight sprinters.

Cat On Base set fractions of :21.60, :43.97 and :55.30 en route to the 1:01.37 clocking, equaling the mark set by both Willie the Cat and The Great Face at Emerald Downs in 2004 and 2007, and by Silvey’s Image and Plenty Zloty at Turf Paradise in 1992 and 1995.

“This horse has a ton of natural speed,” Whitaker said of Cat On Base. “He just pulled me to the lead, and then he kept right on going.”

Cat On Base has won four of 19 starts with earnings of $59,640 for co-owners Belvoir and Vicki Potter. The gelding has been a hard knocker the last two years while also racking up six seconds and four thirds, mostly in higher level claiming races. Bred by Jennifer Weber and Kenneth Jochimsen, Cat On Base is by the same sire (Harbor the Gold) as two-time Emerald Downs Horse of the Meeting Noosa Beach, and out of the Vying Victor mare Vying for Money.

Belvoir, who came within one victory of his first career training title here last year, has four wins in the first two days of the 2012 meeting. Earlier Saturday, the veteran conditioner saddled A Girl Named Pearl ($4.60) to a one-length victory in the fourth race.

“All my horses are firing bullets,” Belvoir said. “Let’s hope I can keep it going.”

Emancipated, ridden by Jose Zunino, paid $16.40 and $7.80. Dare Me Devil, with apprentice Eliska Kubinova up, finished third and paid $4.60.

Dangerous Pleasure, Olympic Lights, Go With Gusto, Ricky Ricky and Zagreus completed the order of finish.

Troy Stillwell, in his first mount at Emerald Downs since closing day of the 2010 meeting, rode Olympic Lights. The 45-year-old Aberdeen native missed the entire 2011 season with a back injury.

NOTES: Willie the Cat, The Great Face, Silvey’s Image and Plenty Zloty were all timed in 1:01 1/5; Emerald Downs switched its timing system from fifths to hundredths of seconds in 2011*Congratulations to newlyweds Jon & Jassi Miller of Puyallup, who were married at University of Washington earlier today. The longtime Emerald Downs’ fans celebrated their recent nuptials in the track’s Rainier Room on the Fourth floor. Not only that, but the Millers stood with trainer Dino Apostolou in the paddock for the saddling of his first-time starter Tribal Rythum, who finished second, after breaking from the No. 2 post-position, in the second race on the second day of racing*Perfect Pie ($5) picked up right where she left off last fall while notching a 2-¼-length victory under Debbie Hoonan in the fifth race. The 5-year-old mare was 4-3-0 in eight starts in 2011, and she was the only horse to defeat the meet’s Top Claimer Touch of Elegance. Chris Stenslie trains Perfect Pie for One Horse Will Do Corp. (Jody Peetz) and Tony Loften*2011 leading trainer Frank Lucarelli got on the board in 2012 as Hard Slider ($4.20) led all the way in the sixth race. The 4-year-old gelding capped a double for defending riding champion Leslie Mawing. Mawing had 37 multiple-win days last year en route to his first career riding title*Jockey Rocco Bowen notched his first Emerald Downs victory in the nightcap aboard Kool Comic ($16.40) for trainer Jim Nunnally*Opening week continues Sunday with 10 live races beginning at 2 p.m.

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