Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lurking in the Shadows

When one thinks of an alley cat, they think of a stray cat that lurks in the shadows between buildings. That could metaphorically fit the situation that a horse by the name of Rys Alley Cat is in.
I’ve known who the son of Tale of the Cat is for four months. I saw the chestnut gelding run in the Lone Star Derby at Lone Star Park. Though unimpressed by him, I remembered his name because of a photograph I took of him. It is one of my favorite pictures I’ve ever taken because of how detailed it is. For instance, you can see the water dripping from the gelding's mouth. I even won a blue ribbon for it and the picture now hangs on my wall.
Photo by Mary Cage
That day, Rys Alley Cat finished last in a field of nine in the mile and one-sixteenth turf stakes. Nonetheless, the field was a very talented field. Thirtyfirststreet, who won the Lone Star Derby, has since gone on to finish third in the La Jolla Handicap (GII). The runner-up, Close Ally, recently won an allowance optional claiming at Belmont Park while the third-place finisher was Coolmore Lexington Stakes (GIII) winner Derby Kitten, who just won the Ontario Derby. Also finishing ahead of Rys Alley Cat were stakes winners Aces N Kings and Awesome Bet, as well as stakes-placed horses Dreaminofthewin, Unbridled Sheriff, and Uncle Sam.
In his next race, the Dean Kutz Stakes at Canterbury Park, Rys Alley Cat crossed the wire ahead of one horse. It was yet another race on turf, though this one was a sixteenth of a mile shorter. The winner of that race, Wild Jacob, won three straight stakes races before going on to finish fifth in the Kent Stakes, which was originally a grade three but was deprived of its graded status after being taken off the turf.
Rys Alley Cat was then entered on the dirt. In a mile and one-eighth allowance at Remington Park, the chestnut closed gamely to just miss catching the highly-touted Pass Line, who had won his past two races in dominating fashion at Lone Star Park. Rys Alley Cat had just run his best race since breaking his maiden.
Rys Alley Cat returned in another allowance on the dirt at Remington Park. In the one mile race, the son of Tale of the Cat easily won by seven lengths. By winning the race, he defeated two stakes-placed horses, one of which is graded-stakes placed.
Though he had good performances on the turf in the maiden ranks, Rys Alley Cat’s best performances against winners have come on the dirt. Hopefully the gelding has found his place, as he has been very impressive on the main track. It’s always nice to see a horse find his place and even if Rys Alley Cat doesn’t make it in the stakes ranks, his picture will always have a place on my wall.

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