08/18/2010 6:48PM

Crafty Garcia helps Awakino Cat repeat in Troy Stakes

Barbara D. Livingston
Awakino Cat (left) wins the Troy Stakes under jockey Alan Garcia at Saratoga on Wednesday.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Receiving a heady ride from Alan Garcia, Awakino Cat made it back-to-back victories in Saratoga’s $70,000 Troy Stakes, outfinishing a stubborn Ravalo to win the turf sprint stakes by a neck.

Ravalo, making his turf debut after running his first 36 starts on dirt and who was part of a three-ply speed duel, held second by three-quarters of a length over the late-running and wide Yield Bogey.

Silver Timber, the 3-5 favorite under Julien Leparoux, didn’t appear comfortable racing between horses, never fired and finished fifth.
Awakino Cat, a 5-year-old gelded son of Stormy Atlantic trained by Linda Rice who also owns her in partnership with Gerald Appel’s F E Que Stable, made it 3 for 4 over Saratoga’s turf course. That included a win in last year’s Troy when he was the 5-2 favorite. Wednesday, he was let go at a generous 6-1 and returned $14.20.

Garcia had Awakino Cat three-wide in the second flight of horses behind Ezzy, Ahvee’s Destiny, and Ravalo, while keeping Silver Timber boxed in between his horse and Our Friend Harvey.

Garcia was able to keep Silver Timber in tight around the turn and into the stretch and when he asked his horse to go, Awakino Cat responded. Awakino Cat tackled Ravalo inside the eighth pole and was able to outkick that rival to the wire. Awakino Cat covered the 5 1/2 furlongs over firm turf in 1:01.90. Last year, he won it in 1:01.39.

“I was really proud of Alan he did a terrific job, he had to ride this horse pretty aggressively on the backside to get him into the winning spot,” Rice said. “Alan rode him very aggressively when it was a key time to do so. The horse loves the course.”

Awakino Cat, who was purchased for $60,000 out of a 2-year-old-in-training sale, has now won 9 of 20 starts and earned $296,390.