06/05/2013 3:20PM

Hastings notes: Wilo Kat gets stakes shot in Sir Winston Churchill


VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Trainer John Snow is looking forward to running Wilo Kat in the $50,000 Sir Winston Churchill at Hastings on Sunday. The mile and a sixteenth Churchill, for 3-year-olds and up, anchors the four stakes races that will make up half of the eight-race card.

Wilo Kat isn’t a stakes winner, but he looked good beating a couple of stakes winners in a $35,000 optional race going 6 1/2 furlongs May 18. He also ran a lot better race than it looks on paper when he finished fifth in the Grade 3 British Columbia Derby last year. He might not have won the mile and an eighth feature, but there was a good chance he would have finished second if he hadn’t gotten stopped cold when he was making a strong move along the rail on the stretch turn.

Snow is excited about stretching him out to a mile and a sixteenth for the first time this year in the Churchill.

“The derby was a tough one, but that’s racing,” said Snow. “He came out of his last race just fantastic and he really doesn’t want to sprint, so winning the race just shows how good he is going right now.”

Wilo Kat finished second going 3 1/2 furlongs in both of his races as a 2-year-old. Snow reached in and grabbed him for $10,000 when he made his 3-year-old debut last year.

“He impressed me in both of his starts because he didn’t look like a horse that would do well going that short and he ran big races both times,” said Snow. “He has a monster stride and I just thought he would improve going a route of ground.”

Snow gives a lot of credit for Wilo Kat’s development to his wife, Tammy Snow. A former jockey, Tammy Snow is the main exercise rider for the barn and she has developed a strong bond with Wilo Kat.

“Tammy gallops him, works him, and does just about everything with him,” said Snow. “She’s done a phenomenal job with him,”

“He’s really fun to get on when he trains,” said Tammy Snow. “He’s a real feel-good horse that likes to buck a lot. He’s really grown into becoming a cool, happy horse. He’ll stand at the gap for 15 minutes just to show off, and as soon as he gets going he always starts bucking. If he isn’t playing and bucking you know there’s something wrong. He just has a great personality and he is very proud of himself when he wins.”

Wilo Kat will be in tough when he runs against the likes of Herbie D, who is coming off a front-running win in the $50,000 John Longden 6000 going 6 1/2 furlongs May 20.

“It should be a good race, and with Herbie in the field at least we know there will be an honest pace for our horse to run at, “ said John Snow.

McCarthy makes the call with Stole It

Tracy McCarthy was having a hard time making up her mind between running Stole It in a first-level allowance race for 3-year-olds and up or keeping him with 3-year-olds in the $50,000 River Rock Casino.

A homebred son of Forest Grove, Stole It was an impressive front-running winner when he debuted in a maiden special weight race April 20 and he was expected to be on or near the lead when he came back in a $35,000 optional claiming race May 12. Plans changed quickly when Stole It missed the break. He was still trailing the rest of the field after a half-mile before he rallied to finish second.

“He showed us a lot in the race,” said McCarthy. “He overcame adversity and you couldn’t pay for the kind of education he received. I think he deserves a shot with stakes horses, but being a B.C.-bred he can win the allowance race twice before he has to tackle stakes company.”

Just before entries closed McCarthy opted for the easier spot.