03/21/2009 11:00PM

Belmont Cat sits back, then pounces


ARCADIA, Calif. - A change in tactics proved beneficial on Sunday for Belmont Cat, who responded to a waiting ride from Joel Rosario to get up in time and capture the Grade 2, $150,000 Santa Ana Handicap for female turf horses at Santa Anita.

Belmont Cat ($20.40) prevailed in a thrilling four-horse finish. She beat an unlucky Bel Air Sizzle by a head, with odds-on favorite Visit another neck back in third, a head in front of Satan's Circus. In My Glory, Sharp Susan, and Exquisite completed the order of finish.

Belmont Cat completed 1 1/8 miles in 1:48.68 over a course rated good following morning showers.

The victory was the second in three starts for Belmont Cat since she was imported from her native New Zealand by bloodstock agent Denny Boltinghouse, who bought the mare for owner Richard Templer's Doubledown Stables. Belmont Cat won her United States debut on Dec. 3 at Hollywood Park, but finished fifth of eight in the San Gorgonio Handicap here on Jan. 4.

"She trained really, really well for her first race," said John Sadler, who trains Belmont Cat. "I was a little disappointed last time, but there wasn't much pace and she was up close. I think she wants to sit back and kick, so we really tried to emphasize that today."

Belmont Cat was third during the early going as In My Glory led through fractions of 23.77 seconds, 48.20, and 1:12.62 for six furlongs. She surged to the lead in midstretch, turned back a bid from Visit, and then was fully extended to hold safe Bel Air Sizzle, who compromised her chances by veering sharply to the left leaving the gate to fall far back early.