12/18/2010 6:13PM

Catsalot proves uncatchable in Pacific Heights

Marcel Langevin/Vassar Photography
Jockey Julien Couton wins the stakes feature at Golden Gate Fields for the second week in a row, guiding Catsalot to victory in the Pacific Heights.

ALBANY, Calif. – Jockey Julien Couton used the same winning formula for the second week in a row, establishing an insurmountable early lead with pedestrian fractions as he guided Catsalot to victory in the $75,600 Pacific Heights Stakes at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday.

Catsalot ($11.60) opened a six-length lead over 2-5 favorite Antares World despite running the opening half-mile in only 50.82 seconds in the 1 1/8-mile stakes race for fillies and mares that was shifted from the turf course to the Tapeta main track.

She had an open lead all the way in the race, defeating Antares World by 3 1/4 lengths in 1:51.96. I Can Hear was third another 3 1/4 lengths back.
The victory was 4-year-old Catsalot’s first stakes win and also her first win on a synthetic surface.

Couton scored his first career stakes victory here one week ago, winning the $75,900 Gold Rush with Positive Response while setting tepid fractions in a wire-to-wire win.

“Usually, she drops back and relaxes in the back of the field, but today she broke good and nobody wanted to go to the lead,” said Couton, who received early support from Catsalot’s trainer, Leonard Powell, when he started riding in California upon his arrival from France in 2008.
“I let her go and she was nice and relaxed out there. I looked back at the three-eighths pole and I said, ‘Wow, they’re going to let me have this one.’ She gave me a really nice kick in the stretch.”

Antares World’s rider, Frank Alvarado, said, “She did not fire at all today. When I tried to get her to pick it up at the half-mile pole I got nothing.”

The victory was worth $45,300 for owner Magalen O. Bryant. Catsalot has now won 5 of 26 starts and $246,721.