11/17/2013 5:33PM

Hollywood Park: Warren’s Veneda wins Cat’s Cradle to earn shot at a Grade 1

Benoit & Associates
Jockey Joe Talamo steers Warren's Veneda to a three-quarter-length win in the $100,000 Cat's Cradle Handicap at Betfair Hollywood Park on Sunday.

INGLEWOOD, Calif. – Warren’s Veneda always has hinted at promise, but she has really come on strongly in her last two starts, and she showed that she’s ready for graded stakes company with a victory against older California-bred females in the $100,000 Cat’s Cradle on Sunday at Betfair Hollywood Park.

Warren’s Veneda got a perfect trip under jockey Joe Talamo. She settled into third during the long run down the backstretch in the 7 1/2-furlong race, moved sharply to bid for command entering the lane, wrested the lead from pacesetter Sister Kate, then safely held off Curvy Cat to prevail by three-quarters of a length. Sister Kate faded to third, another 5 1/4 lengths in arrears. Qiaona and Ciao Bella Luna trailed.

The favorite, Warren’s Veneda ($4.60) completed 7 1/2 furlongs on Cushion Track in 1:29.72 following a seven-furlong split of 1:23.38.

“She’s always had a lot of talent, but she was a little cantankerous early on and was her own worst enemy,” said Craig Lewis, who trains Warren’s Veneda, a daughter of the Unbridled stallion Affirmative, for her breeder, Benjamin Warren. “She used to run up on horses, get in trouble. She’s become a lot more professional.”

Warren’s Veneda, 3, came into the Cat’s Cradle following a 7 1/4-length romp going one mile at Santa Anita against second-level allowance company Oct. 13. She has won five times in 10 starts but is 4 for 6 when her grass races are factored out, and she has won both her starts at Hollywood Park.

“Her first win, she took up three times and still won,” Lewis said of a win against maidens here April 27. “Horses don’t do that. She’s a gifted filly, a big, beautiful filly, and I don’t think sprinting is her game.”

Lewis said he wanted to stretch out Warren’s Veneda during the winter at Santa Anita but would give her a shot at Grade 1 company in the seven-furlong La Brea Stakes early in that meet.