09/03/2016 4:49PM

Cathryn Sophia dominant in Princess of Sylmar Stakes

Barbara Weidl/EQUI-PHOTO
Cathryn Sophia, with Paco Lopez aboard, wins the Princess of Sylmar Stakes by 6 1/2 lengths Saturday.

Kentucky Oaks winner Cathryn Sophia tuned up for her meeting with Songbird in the Grade 1 Cotillion Stakes at Parx Racing on Sept. 24 with an effortless 6 1/2-length victory in the $150,000 Princess of Sylmar on Saturday.

With Paco Lopez subbing for her regular rider, Javier Castellano – who will have the mount back in the Cotillion – Cathryn Sophia settled nicely during the early going of the one-mile race. She edged closer on the far turn, took the lead outside Disco Rose entering the stretch, with Lopez sitting still as a statue with a loose rein, and then pulled away smoothly while never being asked to extend herself.

The Princess of Sylmar was Cathryn Sophia's first start since June 11, when she finished third to Carina Mia and Off the Tracks in the Grade 1 Acorn Stakes at Belmont Park. Trainer John Servis took Cathryn Sophia to Saratoga at the beginning of the meet and worked her four times there. He recently returned her to his home base at Parx, where she blew out five furlongs for the Princess of Sylmar in 58.80 seconds.

Servis said this week that he was using the Princess of Sylmar – a newly created stakes designed to give the local fans a chance to watch Cathryn Sophia race – as a tune-up for the Cotillion. He estimated that he had her "about 80 percent cranked up" for the race.

Eighth Wonder set the early pace in the Princess of Sylmar but was overtaken on the far turn by Disco Rose following fractions of 24.38 and 48.05 seconds. Disco Rose led through six furlongs in 1:12.56 before Cathryn Sophia took charge. She covered seven furlongs in 1:24.98 and completed the course in 1:37.69 but obviously could have gone faster if asked.

Cathryn Sophia paid $2.20 to win in the six-horse field. She caused a large minus show pool as $528,162 of the total pool of $553,609 was wagered on her.

Servis said he was apprehensive before the race.

"It's not easy to be that big of a favorite with a horse like her, especially at your home track," Servis said. "But I'm tickled with the win. She won easy, and it looked like it didn't take anything out of her. It should set her up nice for the Cotillion."

A $30,000 yearling purchase by the Cash Is King Stable of Chuck Zacney, Cathryn Sophia began her career at Parx with a 12 3/4-length maiden win last October. Servis then sent her to Laurel Park, where she won the Gin Talking Stakes by 16 lengths.

Servis targeted the Grade 2 Forward Gal at Gulfstream Park after that race, and she won it by 5 1/2. She also took the Grade 2 Davona Dale going a one-turn mile at Gulfstream by seven lengths.

Sent to Kentucky in the spring, Cathryn Sophia came up a little short in the Grade 1 Ashland going 1 1/16 miles and suffered her first defeat, finishing third, beaten a half-length. She rebounded in the 1 1/8-mile Kentucky Oaks in her next start, drawing away from 13 rivals to win by 2 3/4 lengths.

Servis didn't commit Cathryn Sophia to the Kentucky Oaks until Songbird was declared from the race after becoming ill. The 1 1/16-mile Cotillion will be the first meeting between Songbird, the still-undefeated 2-year-old champion filly of last year, and Cathryn  Sophia, who is now 6 for 8.