09/16/2002 11:00PM

Bonde has 'Cat' back in the bridle


SAN MATEO, Calif. - Trainer Jeff Bonde has always liked Miss Jeanne Cat.

That's why he was willing to spend $160,000 for her at Ocala last spring for the JMJ Racing Stables.

Miss Jeanne Cat, a daughter of Tabasco Cat out of the Valid Appeal mare Few Choice Words, paid immediate dividends.

She won her debut at Bay Meadows and followed that with a stakes victory over the track.

She then went to Hollywood Park for the Grade 3 Landaluce on July 7. She got a good stalking trip, although she was four wide into the turn of the six-furlong race. She gradually faded and finished fourth.

"The filly came out of the Hollywood race with a chip in her knee, so we turned her out," said Bonde, who brings her back to the races in Thursday's Bay Meadows feature, where she will meet four older rivals in an $80,000 optional claiming race at six furlongs.

"She should have been back a long time ago, but she developed an abscess on the side of her face, and we couldn't put a bridle on her."

When Miss Jeanne Cat was finally ready to work, she had a pair of strong drills at Bay Meadows in July. Her owners and Bonde weighed their options and sent her back to Monmouth, where Bonde had a string of horses.

That turned out to be a mistake. The filly couldn't handle the track at all, so Bonde wisely shipped her back to California.

Bonde has been searching for a spot for Miss Jeanne Cat and opted to run her here instead of stablemate Bigboystoy.

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