09/06/2014 4:45PM

Appealing Cat surges late to capture Mrs. Penny

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Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
Eriluis Vaz collects his third win of the card aboard Appealing Cat in the Mrs. Penny for Pennsylvania-bred fillies and mares.

As expected, a horse pounded down to even-money won the $100,000 Mrs. Penny Stakes, the feature among five stakes on Saturday’s Pennsylvania ‘s Day at the Races program at Parx Racing.

Surprisingly, that horse wasn’t Waterway Run, who was a nose shy of being a two-time Grade 3 stakes winner this season. In fact, Waterway Run wasn’t even among the first five  finishers in the 1 1/16-mile turf race for Pennsylvania-bred fillies and mares.

Appealing Cat, part of a Graham Motion-trained entry for Augustin Stable, emerged from a six-way scramble for the lead in midstretch to score a 1 1/2-lengthvictory. A 5-year-old mare who was no better than fourth in her only two previous starts this season, Appealing Cat paid $4.20 as the narrow second choice, with about $300 less than Waterway Run, who also went off at even-money, raced in traffic most of the trip, and finished last. It was only the third loss in 15 starts at Parx this season for New York-based trainer Chad Brown.

Eriluis Vaz picked up the mount on Appealing Cat when Kendrick Carmouche elected to ride Brown’s filly, Waterway Run. It was Vaz's third win of the day.

Appealing Cat, second in the Grade 3 Endeavor and third in the Grade 3 Galorette last year, covered the distance on firm turf in 1:43.63 for her fifth win in 18 starts.

Lenape Rim finished second at 9-1 with 23-1 outsider Previous Honor third, the Motion-trained Cat’s Holiday fourth, and Little Often Anni fifth in the field of seven.

In the other stakes:

Rustler Hustler ($34.40), the longest shot on the board among five older sprinters, finished fastest of all to upset the $75,000 Banjo Picker Sprint.

The 6-year-old Rustler Hustler, ridden by Jorge Vargas Jr. for trainer Marya Montoya and Waldorf Racing Stables, was winless in seven starts since he beat $16,000 claimers last November. It was his third career stakes victory but first in nearly four years. He covered six furlongs in 1:10.26 for his 10th win in 41 starts.

Res Judicata, the 1-5 favorite, nosed out Officer Alex for second. Last Heartbreaker, who led until deep stretch, missed third by a nose.

John Bisono collected his second stakes win on the card when he guided stretch-out sprinter Traffic Light ($8.60) to a 3 1/4-length victory in the $75,000 Roanoke.

Although the 5-year-old Traffic Light, trained by Freddy Velazquez for John Tripp Sr. had sprinted in all four starts this season, he came into the 1 1/16-mile Roanoke with four top two finishes in five starts at related distances, including a runner-up performance in the 2012 running of the Grade 3 Smarty Jones.

It was the ninth win in 21 starts for Traffic Light, who prepped for this spot with a fourth-place finish in a restricted six-furlong stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 22. The winning time was 1:44.42.

Keepmeinstitches finished second at 12-1, 1 1/4 lengths in front of the 9-5 favorite, Sailor’s Revenge.

Aunt Ellipsis ($7.60) extended her winning streak to three races by capturing the $75,000 Dr. Teresa Garofalo Memorial for 3-year-old fillies. Now 5 for 10 lifetime, Aunt Ellipsis was ridden by Inoel Beato for trainer Keith Lebarron and owner Vince Campanella. The filly, a daughter of Successful Appeal, ran six furlongs in 1:11.29.

Merry’s Honor ($24) rallied to nip fast-closing Oklahoma Crude and pacesetter Atlantic Seaboard in the $75,000 Marshall Jenney Handicap for turf sprinters.

Third at 36-1 in this same race last year, the 5-year-old Merry’s Honor, making his first start since July 20, made a late surge under John Bisono to prevail in a three-horse photo, finishing a nose in front of Oklahoma Crude, who was seeking his fourth straight win. Atlantic Seaboard, who was two lengths in front at the stretch call, missed second by a nose.

The winning time for five furlongs was  58.10 seconds.

It was the fourth win in 14 starts for Merry’s Honor, trained by Kathleen DeMasi for Pewter Stable.