Stallwalkin’ Dude completed a unique hat trick when he rallied from last to win the $100,000 Tale of the Cat by a head over a stubborn Loose On the Town Friday at Saratoga.
It was the third straight year Stallwalkin’ Dude won the Tale of the Cat, named for a horse that won the Grade 2 King’s Bishop here in a nine-race career but who later developed into a top-class stallion.
“Some people are telling me they want to change the name of the race,” said David Jacobson, the owner/trainer of Stallwalkin’ Dude. “But not until he’s done.”
The way he performed Friday, Stallwalkin’ Dude doesn’t appear close to being done.
Stallwalkin’ Dude had some help from his uncoupled stablemate Chief Lion, who ran an opening quarter in 21.96 seconds while dueling with Cadeyrn.
Stallwalkin’ Dude was last, 9 1/2 lengths back, under Joe Bravo.
Chief Lion ran a half-mile in 44.96 seconds, and that pace began to take its toll on Cadeyrn.
Loose On the Town, who broke alertly but then was taken back by Javier Castellano, re-engaged Chief Lion at the quarter pole. Loose On the Town made the lead at the eighth pole, but Stallwalkin’ Dude, swung six wide by Bravo turning for home, started revving up.
It took him the length of the stretch to run down Loose On the Town, but Stallwalkin Dude got there, covering the six furlongs in 1:09.75. He returned $3.80 as the 4-5 favorite.
Loose On the Town finished second by 3 1/4 lengths over Weekend Hideaway. He was followed, in order, by Candid Desire, Candip, Chief Lion and Cadeyrn.
Bravo seemed more content with where Stallwalkin’ Dude was earlier in the race than was Jacobson.
“As long as he’s comfortable the first part it seems to me he finishes so much better,” Bravo said. “If you use him early he just doesn’t have that kick. The farther back the more comfortable I am.”
“He was a little farther back than we had planned, but when I saw the fractions I knew he’d be right there,” Jacobson said. “The ‘Dude’ makes it exciting. He’s got such a big heart that he prevails more often than he doesn’t.”
“He likes to make it exciting sometimes, and he sure did that today,” Jacobson continued. “When I saw the fractions, he was a little further back than what we had planned, but I knew he’d be right there. He’s a real pleasure to train, and he’s very easy to train. He’s run so much with so little breaks and he’s so fit that you really don’t have to do much with him. He’s a special horse and he makes it exciting and he seems to get there every time. He’s just figuring it out now. He’s got a lot more races left.”
Stallwalkin’ Dude, a 7-year-old gelding by City Place claimed by Jacobson for $16,000 three years ago, now has won 19 races from 55 starts and earned $1,482,853. Sallusto & Albina bloodstock brokered a deal to involve Head of Plains Partners in the horse prior to last year’s Tale of the Cat victory.
-edited from www.drf.com, photo by Barbara Livingston