12/05/2010 8:34AM

Cathy's Crunches finds room late to take Corte Madera

Marcel Langevin/Vassar Photography
Cathy's Crunches edges Lilacs and Lace and Game to Run in the Corte Madera on Dec. 4. The three will meet again in the California Oaks on New Year's Day.

ALBANY, Calif. – At the finish line, Cathy’s Crunches looked like an odds-on runner should, but with one-quarter mile to go in the $76,200 Corte Madera Stakes on Saturday at Golden Gate Fields, she looked beaten.

The 2-year-old filly Cathy’s Crunches ($3) won her third stakes of the meeting as she scored a one-half length victory in 1:40.01 in the one-mile race, which was her first start around two turns. Lilacs and Lace and Game to Run, one-two in the stretch, wound up in a dead heat for second, 1 3/4 lengths in front of Entrustment.

Cathy’s Crunches, who showed speed in winning the Golden Gate Debutante and Golden Nugget, both at six furlongs, settled into a stalking position early as Noise of the Crowd set tepid fractions of 25.25 and 51.20 seconds in the race for 2-year-old fillies.

The favorite stayed on the inside and found herself shuffled back to sixth at the quarter pole. She was seemingly trapped behind a wall of horses turning into the lane.

After steadying, jockey Chad Schvaneveldt swung Cathy’s Crunches out for room, and she roared to the front and was widening at wire.
“That's what you call being much the best,” said Schvaneveldt. “I thought she’d be laying closer but she broke a little flat-footed so I tucked her in behind horses. She settled really nice. At the head of the lane, I had nowhere to go. Finally I was able to step her out and she cut.”

The victory was the fifth in seven starts for Cathy’s Crunches, a daughter of West Acre who was purchased by Mark DeDomenico and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer after her winning debut June 25 at Calder. She earned $45,000 for the victory, increasing her winnings to $153,520.

“I watched the replay, and I was proud of her,” said Hollendorfer from Hollywood Park. “I thought she was pretty tenacious.”