10/20/2010 3:11PM

Acquired Cat will feel some heat

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ELMONT, N.Y. – The front-running Acquired Cat will certainly be a deserving favorite in Friday’s featured turf sprint at Belmont Park. But with the presence of other speed horses in the field and the likelihood of a turf course with plenty of give to it, Acquired Cat’s run of five consecutive turf sprint victories could be in jeopardy.

Since being claimed for $35,000 in May 2009 by trainer Dominic Galluscio on behalf of Peter and Eloise Canzone, Acquired Cat has won 6 of 8 starts with one second. The only bad effort came in last year’s Ticonderoga, when she attempted 1 1/8 miles over soft turf. She set the pace and faded to 10th.

Acquired Cat is 3 for 3 in turf sprints this year, all coming at this same $50,000 claiming level for New York-breds. Acquired Cat has not been out since wining gate to wire on Aug. 1 at Saratoga going 5 1/2 furlongs. Galluscio said the horse had a foot bruise, shortly after that race, but “she’s excellent” now.

Acquired Cat, who is 7 for 17 at Belmont, appears to do her best running on the lead, but may be hard-pressed to get it with Yo Karakorum, Zip By You, We Need VLTs and others in the field.

The race could set up for Royal Rhetoric, a 3-year-old who is in this race under the second-level statebred condition. Royal Rhetoric, trained by Joe Aquilino, has won both of her last turf sprints including a first-level allowance race here on Oct. 8 by two lengths going seven furlongs.

Royal Rhetoric is coming back on just two weeks’ rest, but she has only raced five times this year. Her two wins have come over good or yielding ground.

“She came out of her last race good,” Aquilino said. “It’s the end of October, and she probably only has two raced left before grass season is over. As long as she’s doing fine, let’s try it before we give her the winter off.”

Four horses who Acquired Cat beat in that Aug. 1 race at Saratoga are back to take her on again in this spot. Zip By You, who finished fourth that day, was bumped early on in the race by Raffie’s Rose – who is in this field – and cashed the winner throughout the race. She was only beaten a quarter-length for second. She comes off seventh-place finish in an off-the-turf race at this level on Sept. 29.

Doree Daze figures a big price in this field, but she was beaten only 1 1/2 lengths by Acquired Cat over this turf course in June.