Owner-trainer Kate Dalton’s Cat Feathers, who upset reigning female steeplechase champion Sweet Shani in the Mrs. Ogden Phipps Stakes, will go for a Saratoga Race Course stakes double on Thursday, Aug. 30, in the $75,000 Mrs. Walter M. Jeffords Stakes for fillies and mares. The four-year-old Catienus filly will be challenged by seven opponents, including four returning from the Mrs. Phipps on Aug. 9.
The Mrs. Jeffords, named for the late owner of Racing Hall of Fame member Lonesome Glory, is one of two jump races on the final Steeplechase Thursday of the 2012 Saratoga meet. A full field was entered for the afternoon’s first race, a $65,000 optional allowance hurdle.
In the Mrs. Phipps, Cat Feathers moved strongly through Saratoga’s stretch and wore down Sweet Shani before drawing clear to a 1 1/4-length victory at 23.30-1 odds. Bernie Dalton, a veteran Irish-born jockey and the owner’s husband, will again be in the saddle.
Trainer Doug Fout will saddle Magalen O. Bryant’s Well Fashioned, who finished third in the Mrs. Phipps, 7 3/4 lengths behind Cat Feathers. Jeff Murphy, Fout’s first-call jockey, will be aboard the Virginia-bred Cozzene mare.
Also returning from the Mrs. Phipps is owner-trainer Jack Fisher’s Maya Charli, who set the early pace but faded to finish fifth, 30 1/2 lengths behind the winner. Ross Geraghty again will be aboard the seven-year-old mare, also by 1985 male turf champion Cozzene, as she aims for her third win of the year. In her start prior to the Mrs. Phipps, Maya Charli had wired the Valentine Memorial Stakes, winning by 2 1/4 lengths against a tough field at the Fair Hill Races in Maryland.
Also entering from the Mrs. Phipps is Octoraro Stables’ Euro Power, who finished seventh. Trainer Blythe Miller Davies tapped Danielle Hodsdon to ride the four-year-old Powerscourt filly. Marethon Stable’s Eastern Starlett was eased before the Mrs. Phipps’ final fence. Jockey Willie McCarthy gets a return engagement for trainer Arch Kingsley Jr.
Racing Hall of Fame trainer Jonathan Sheppard entered his Cubist, a five-year-old Royal Academy homebred who finished fifth in the Valentine on May 26. Since then, she has had two flat starts at Delaware Park. Brian Crowley will ride.
W. Russell Cline’s Better Than Even, fourth in the Valentine, also has been toiling on the flat and has a second and a third in Colonial Downs turf races to her credit. Roddy Mackenzie will ride for trainer Simon Hobson.
Leading owner Irvin S. Naylor will be represented by a newcomer to North America, Cordillera, who won her most recent start, a hurdle race at Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse on July 24. Trainer J. W. Delozier tapped Carl Rafter to ride the four-year-old filly.
Here is the Mrs. Walter M. Jeffords Stakes field in post-position order:
Well Fashioned. 2007 b. f., Cozzene–Crypos’ Best, by Cryptoclearance. Owner: Magalen O. Bryant. Trainer: Doug Fout. Jockey: Jeff Murphy. 2012 record: 4-0-0-2, $14,000. 2011 record: 3-2-3-1, $60,600. Most recently finished third in Saratoga’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps on Aug. 9 after a third in the Valentine Memorial at Fair Hill, Md., on May 26. Finished fourth in the Margaret Currey Henley at Nashville’s Iroquois Steeplechase on May 12. Closed 2011 with a 5 1/4-length win in the Crown Royal Stakes for fillies and mares at the Steeplechase at Callaway in Georgia on Nov. 5.
Cat Feathers. 2008 dk. b. or br. f., Catienus—Mistress Hemming, by Quiet American. Owner-trainer: Kate Dalton. Jockey: Bernie Dalton. 2012 record: 3-1-0-0, $45,000. 2011 record: 2-1-0-0, $6,000. Upset Saratoga’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps Stakes at 23.30-1 over top field on Aug. 9. Finished seventh in Colonial Downs allowance race on June 2 after being pulled up in High Hope allowance race in Lexington, Ky., on May 20. Won maiden claimer at Charleston Cup Races in South Carolina on Nov. 13.
Eastern Starlett. 2005 b. m., Eastern Echo—Ample’s Star, by Risen Star. Owner: Marethon Stable. Trainer: Arch Kingsley Jr. Jockey: Willie McCarthy. 2012 record: 3-1-2-0, $14,400. Pulled up before last fence of Saratoga’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps on Aug. 9. Won Colonial Downs maiden hurdle by 2 1/4 lengths as the 3.30-1 favorite on June 17 after two second-place finishes.
Cubist. 2007 ch. m., Royal Academy–Effervescent, by Citidancer. Owner-trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. Jockey: Brian Crowley. 2012 record: 2-1-0-0, $10,600. 2011 record: 3-0-1-1, $6,450. Sheppard homebred finished fifth to Maya Charli in Valentine Memorial at Fair Hill, Md., on May 26. Was placed first after finishing second in an Atlanta Steeplechase maiden special weight race on April 14. Finished third in Crown Royal Stakes at the Steeplechase at Callaway in Georgia on Nov. 5.
Maya Charli. 2007 gr. or ro. m., Cozzene–L’Enfant, by A. P Jet. Owner: Jack Fisher. Trainer: Jack Fisher. Jockey: Ross Geraghty. 2012 record: 5-2-0-2, $33,000. Led early in Saratoga’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps but faded to finish fifth. Front-runner upset Valentine Memorial at Fair Hill, Md., on May 26 against top-notch field. Cruised to a 5 1/4-length victory in maiden claiming hurdle at the Radnor Hunt Races on May 19.
Better Than Even. 2005 ch. m., Stephen Got Even—Duel to the End, by End Sweep. Owner: W. Russell Cline. Trainer: Simon Hobson. Jockey: Roddy Mackenzie. 2012 NSA record: 3-2-0-0, $16,000. Has been running well on the flat at Colonial Downs after finishing fourth in the Valentine Memorial at Fair Hill, Md., on May 26. Defeated males handily in her first career start over fences, in a maiden claiming race at Middleburg, Va., on April 21. Placed first after finishing second in claiming race at Willowdale Steeplechase in Kennett Square, Pa., on May 13.
Cordillera (GB). 2008 ch. f., Araafa (Ire)—Alexander Celebre, by Peintre Celebre. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: J. W. Delozier. Jockey: Carl Rafter. 2012 NSA record: No starts. Recent import won a hurdle race at Bangor-on-Dee Racecourse by nine lengths on July 24.
Euro Power. 2008 b. f., Powerscourt (GB)—Eurosceptic, by Cozzene. Owner: Octoraro Stables. Trainer: Blythe Miller Davies. Jockey: Danielle Hodsdon. 2012 record: 3-1-0-0, $9,000. Finished seventh in Saratoga’s Mrs. Ogden Phipps on Aug. 9. Won her maiden victory over fences at Saratoga Open House on July 15 after maiden-claimer victory on the flat at Colonial Downs on June 28.