In another exciting Steeplechase Thursday finish, owner-trainer Kate Dalton’s Cat Feathers overtook reigning female champion Sweet Shani in Saratoga Race Course’s stretch to win the $75,000 Mrs. Ogden Phipps Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths on Aug. 9. Well Fashioned, half of a Magalen O. Bryant entry, finished third, 6 1/2 lengths farther back, and recent import Maggie Neary took fourth in a strong field of nine fillies and mares.
Cat Feathers, a four-year-old New York-bred filly by Catienus, received little attention after finishing off the board in her two jump starts this year, and her only win over fences was at the Charleston Cup Races in South Carolina last November. Ridden by Bernie Dalton, the owner’s husband, she went off as the race’s 23.30-1 longshot and paid $48.60 to win after running the Mrs. Phipps’ 2 1/16 miles in 3:50.65 on firm turf.
Cat Feathers was well back in the early stages as Valentine Memorial winner Maya Charli set the pace with Sweet Shani stalking her. As Maya Charli began to weaken at the top of Saratoga’s stretch approaching the final fence, Brian Crowley pressed owner-trainer Jonathan Sheppard’s Sweet Shani to the lead.
Sweet Shani soon had competition from Cat Feathers, who had advanced into contention on the final turn. Cat Feathers appeared ready to take the lead nearing the final fence, but 12-year-old Sweet Shani put in a strong jump and opened a clear advantage. Cat Feathers soon regained her momentum and overtook 2.55-1 favorite Sweet Shani near the sixteenth pole before drawing clear.