12/21/2002 1:00AM

Familiarity breeds victory for My Trusty Cat


A familiarity with the six-furlong racing surface at Delta Downs in Vinton, La., may have helped lift My Trusty Cat to a one-length win over Souris in the $250,000 Delta Princess on Friday night. It was another 5 1/2 lengths back to Miss Mary Apples in third.

My Trusty Cat, who is based at Churchill Downs, shipped into Delta earlier than most of her rivals to prepare for the one-mile race for 2-year-old fillies. She even had a work over the track last Sunday, drilling a half-mile in 49.20 seconds for trainer David Vance.

"We've been here 12 days, and she really had a chance to get a feel of the track," said Terry Thompson, who rode My Trusty Cat. "She gave me everything she had tonight."

My Trusty Cat, who is owned by Carl Pollard, settled in fourth early in the two-turn Delta Princess, while Tulupai set fractions of 23.16 seconds for the opening quarter and 47.95 seconds for the half-mile with favored Souris in close pursuit. My Trusty Cat advanced on the final turn, then outfinished Souris through the stretch, covering the distance over a fast track in 1:39.54.

My Trusty Cat, the second choice in the wagering, returned $6. The Delta Princess was her first stakes win. The $150,000 she earned for the victory raised her bankroll to $228,025.

One start earlier, My Trusty Cat finished third to the undefeated My Boston Gal in the Grade 2 Golden Rod at Churchill Downs. My Trusty Cat, who is by Tale of the Cat, has now won two of six career starts. She was bred in Kentucky by Vintage Racing.

Delta Downs, which installed slot machines in February, increased the purse of the Delta Princess from $100,000 to $250,000 a few months ago, a move that lured My Trusty Cat to town for the race, Thompson said.

Delta did good business Friday night, the handle on the 10-race card totaling $1,162,100.