06/01/2006 11:00PM

Cat Criminal romp coming off injury shows his potential


Don't be surprised if Cat Criminal blossoms into a stakes-caliber 3-year-old in the near future.

Making only his second career start and racing for the first time since recovering from a fractured hind ankle, Cat Criminal crushed his competition by 10 3/4 lengths in a two-turn maiden race on Memorial Day at Delaware Park. His impressive performance going 1 1/16 miles was worth a Beyer Speed Figure of 98.

Bettors who noticed that Cat Criminal had sold for $400,000 as a 2-year-old and strung together four bullets at the Fair Hill Training Center this spring, including a recent five-furlong move in 59.20 seconds from the gate, made him the 3-5 favorite.

Trainer Steve Klesaris, who owns Cat Criminal in partnership with Puglisi Stable, said he has long believed that this son of Tale of the Cat had enormous potential.

"We have always liked this colt," Klesaris said. "Certainly, he showed all the right tools in the morning to be a good horse. This was just a maiden race and he still has a long way to go to prove himself, but everything he has shown us to date has really been good."

Cat Criminal raced only once at 2, finishing fourth in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden race at Saratoga last July 27. He sustained his ankle fracture in that race.

"It healed nicely, and he is back and ready to go," Klesaris said. "Hopefully this race is an indication of what we might see in the future."

Klesaris has not yet picked out a spot for Criminal Cat's next start.

Pimlico: No regrets for dropout

On the day when her former high school classmates were preparing for graduation ceremonies, Rosie Napravnik rode two more winners at Pimlico.

"I didn't even realize they were graduating tonight," said Napravnik when reminded last Friday that it was graduation day at Hereford High School in Baltimore County.

Napravnik, 18, dropped out of school after completing her junior year to focus on her budding career as a jockey. She plans to take her GED test this summer. Napravnik said she considers the first year she has spent as an apprentice rider to be an invaluable education in more ways than one.

"I have learned so much this year," she said. "The people in high school will never get to experience what I have.

"From dealing with the public, the press, and the fans, I have learned much more than I would have in high school. It has been an amazing year."

Since winning with her first mount last June, Napravnik wasted little time in becoming the top rider in Maryland. She captured her first riding title during the winter meet at Laurel Park and hasn't missed a beat since Maryland racing shifted to Pimlico in mid-April. Through Thursday, Napravnik had an formidable 48-17 lead over Ryan Fogelsonger at the Pimlico meet, which ends next Saturday. Nationally, she ranks fourth with 150 winners.

"I'm really driven toward success, and I have a lot of good people supporting me, guiding me, telling me which is the best way to do things," Napravnik said.

* Smart Enough, ridden by Joe Rocco Jr. for trainer John Fisher, broke Pimlico's five-furlong turf course record on May 26 when he won the seventh race in 55.73 seconds. The previous record of 55.99 seconds had been set in 2004 by Yankee Wildcat.

Delaware: 'Science' may go in Dick

Sweet Science, second in last Sunday's 1 1/2-mile Top Corsage Handicap at Churchill Downs, could be pointed to the July 15 $300,000 Robert G. Dick Memorial Breeders' Cup at Delaware, according to trainer Graham Motion.

The 5-year-old Sweet Science was second behind Honey Ryder in last year's running of the 1 3/8-mile Dick, a turf race that Motion has dominated since it was inaugurated in 1997. Motion has won the race four times, including three of the last four runnings.

Sweet Science's stablemate Summer Rainbow could run next in the $100,000 Obeah Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on June 17. Last Sunday, Summer Rainbow finished fourth in the Fort Monmouth Stakes at Monmouth Park after a poor start.

"She acted up right as the gate opened and got left," Motion said. "It was a disaster. I would really like to keep her at Delaware."

A definite horse for the course, Summer Rainbow has 5 wins and 2 thirds in 8 starts over Delaware's main track. The only time she was out of the money came when she finished fifth in an overnight stakes, her first start of 2006, on April 23.