03/03/2007 12:00AM

Catman Running wins in stakes debut

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Catman Running turned back bids from Cobrador and favored Joe Got Even in the upper stretch before edging clear to a mild upset Saturday in the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky.

Sent away the third choice in a field of 11 3-year-olds, Catman Running returned $11.20 after capturing his stakes debut in the 1 1/16-mile Battaglia, the local prep for Turfway's showcase race, the Gradeo2 Lane's End Stakes on Marcho24. Joe Got Even, the 6-5 choice, was along for second, 1 3/4 lengths behind the winner and another length ahead of Cobrador.

Jockey Willie Martinez rode Catman Running, a gray Tactical Cat colt who was entered off a January allowance triumph at Turfway, which followed a December maiden victory at Hawthorne. Catman Running, owned by Joe Harris, is based at Keeneland with trainer Eric Reed.

Catman Running was kept close to the pace set by longshot Bubber and contested closely by another longshot, Tanyard Hill, through splits of 24.88 seconds, 49.91, and 1:15.05. As the field began to tighten together in the far turn, Catman Running, always in the clear on the outside, emerged with a slight lead, then was kept to pressure, finishing in a time of 1:45.42 over the Polytrack surface.

Among the also-rans was Rutledge Cat, the 4-1 second choice, who was never a factor while finishing seventh.

For Martinez, it was a triumphant homecoming. The Puerto Rico native, a nine-time Turfway riding champion, has been based in recent winters at Oaklawn Park, including this one.

One race earlier, Dubious Miss ($5.80) remained unbeaten in two starts with a narrow victory in an entry-level allowance route. The 3-year-old colt by E Dubai was ridden by Dean Butler and is trained by Paul McGee.Catman Running turned back bids from Cobrador and favored Joe Got Even in the upper stretch before edging clear to a mild upset Saturday in the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway Park in Florence, Ky.

Sent away the third choice in a field of 11 3-year-olds, Catman Running returned $11.20 after capturing his stakes debut in the 1 1/16-mile Battaglia, the local prep for Turfway's showcase race, the Gradeo2 Lane's End Stakes on Marcho24. Joe Got Even, the 6-5 choice, was along for second, 1 3/4 lengths behind the winner and another length ahead of Cobrador.

Jockey Willie Martinez rode Catman Running, a gray Tactical Cat colt who was entered off a January allowance triumph at Turfway, which followed a December maiden victory at Hawthorne. Catman Running, owned by Joe Harris, is based at Keeneland with trainer Eric Reed.

Catman Running was kept close to the pace set by longshot Bubber and contested closely by another longshot, Tanyard Hill, through splits of 24.88 seconds, 49.91, and 1:15.05. As the field began to tighten together in the far turn, Catman Running, always in the clear on the outside, emerged with a slight lead, then was kept to pressure, finishing in a time of 1:45.42 over the Polytrack surface.

Among the also-rans was Rutledge Cat, the 4-1 second choice, who was never a factor while finishing seventh.

For Martinez, it was a triumphant homecoming. The Puerto Rico native, a nine-time Turfway riding champion, has been based in recent winters at Oaklawn Park, including this one.

One race earlier, Dubious Miss ($5.80) remained unbeaten in two starts with a narrow victory in an entry-level allowance route. The 3-year-old colt by E Dubai was ridden by Dean Butler and is trained by Paul McGee.