01/02/2010 12:00AM

Cat by the Tale gets perfect trip in San Gorgonio

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ARCADIA, Calif. - Cat by the Tale won her first graded stakes in Saturday's at Santa Anita, giving trainer Neil Drysdale his first win in a race at that level since June.

Ridden by Joel Rosario, Cat by the Tale stalked pacesetter Century Park to the final turn and finished 2 1/2 lengths in front of an unlucky Treat Gently, whose saddle slipped early in the race over 1 1/8 miles on turf. Despite the saddle slipping, jockey Rafael Bejarano was able to keep control of the 5-year-old mare and outfinished Rosa Grace by a head for second.

"I was in control for a little while," Bejarano said. "I felt my saddle slipped a little bit past the wire [the first time].

"I couldn't do too much. That cost me the race a little bit because I had a lot of horse at the end. I was really uncomfortable."

Cat by the Tale ($7.60) was timed in 1:48.17.

"She had a perfect trip," Drysdale said. "When [Rosario] asked her, she cut away."

Diamondrella, winner of two Grade 1 races last year, finished fifth as the 2-1 favorite, 2 3/4 lengths behind Cat by the Tale.

Cat by the Tale had been third in her two previous starts, both Grade 2 stakes - the Las Palmas Handicap here in November and the Bayakoa Handicap at Hollywood Park last month. Owned by Raymond Keough, Cat by the Tale has won 5 of 17 starts and $248,258.

She represented Drysdale's first graded stakes winner since Obrigado won the Grade 3 Round Table Handicap at Hollywood Park last June.

* Cherokee Heaven won his first stakes in the on the hillside turf course, rallying from fifth in a field of eight to win by 1 1/4 lengths.

Ridden by Joe Talamo, Cherokee Heaven ($20.80) ran about 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:11.86. Mr. Cacht, who was near the front early, held second, finishing 1 1/4 lengths in front of Stoneside.

Noble Court, the 5-2 favorite, was last early and could only finish fifth.

Cherokee Heaven races for a partnership and trainer Marty Jones, who is unbeaten with two runners in 2010. Jones won Friday's Sensational Star Handicap for statebreds with Compari.