Finding welcome class relief following the Grade 1 Gazelle on November 24, where she finished seventh to Dance Card, Francis Paolangeli’s homebred Wildcat’s Smile enjoyed a comfortable victory in the the $80,000 Sarcastic Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Aqueduct on Saturday.
Making her third start off a freshening after finishing off the board in the New York Derby at Finger Lakes on July 21, the Forest Wildcat filly was looking to turn the tables on Morrow Cove, who beat her to the wire in the Raging Fever Stakes on Aqueduct’s opening day.
In the second meeting of the fillies in the Sarcastic Stakes, bettors made Morrow Cove the odds-on favorite, with Wildcat’s Smile going off as third choice at 3-1. The hot-handed Irad Ortiz, Jr., who had the call for the first time from trainer Dominic Galluscio, was looking for his fourth victory of the day.
Wildcat’s Smile got right into contention for the 1 mile 70 yard contest from her outside post (of five), setting up nicely at the flank of pacesetter Morrow Cove through early fractions of 24.36 and 48.62.
Moving decisively early on the far turn, Wildcat’s Smile passed Morrow Cove and edged ahead to lead by one-half length by the quarter pole. Without another serious challenge, the blazed-face dark bay filly drew off to a 1 1/2 length victory in a final time of 1:41.98. [VIDEO]
Off the board only three times in 13 lifetime starts, Wildcat’s Smile broke her maiden at second asking at Saratoga in 2011, before going on to beat the boys in the New York Breeders’ Futurity and finish second by a nose in the Grade 2 Demoiselle. In 2011 she also took home the place money in the Lady Finger Stakes and Joseph A. Gimma on Showcase Day.
This year Wildcat’s Smile followed up a victory in a state-bred allowance at Aqueduct in April with a strong third in the Grade 2 Black-Eyed Susan. Her second stakes victory on Saturday improves her record to 13-4-4-2 and boosts her earnings to $420,321.
Foaled at Keane Stud in Amenia, Wildcat’s Smile is out of Serenity’s Smile, a multiple black type placed New York-bred daughter of Dixie Brass also bred by Paolangeli ($178,634). A producer of all stakes winners from three foals to start, Serenity’s Smile first foal, Stormy’s Smile, a daughter of Stormy Atlantic, won the 2008 renewal of the Maid of the Mist at Belmont ($73,971). Five-year-old Johannesburg Smile (Johannesburg) has won two stakes races and is a twelve-time stakes performer ($391,770).
Serenity’s Smile currently has a 2-year-old filly by Stormy Atlantic named Atlantic’s Smile who has not yet started and a yearling colt by Catienus (Catienus’s Smile). She was bred to Bluegrass Cat this year.