Updated on 09/17/2011 1:52PM

My Trusty Cat blows by rivals in stretch

David Zenner
Carl F. Pollard's My Trusty Cat makes a last to first rally to win the $175,000 Chicago Breeders' Cup Handicap by 1 3/4 lengths over Our Josephina on Saturday at Arlington Park.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Reborn as a one-turn sprinter, My Trusty Cat won her first graded stakes Saturday at Arlington, beating the longshot Our Josephina by 1 3/4 lengths in the Grade 3, $175,000 .

Mayo on the Side, favored at odds of 3-10, pressed the early pace and flattened out in the stretch, finishing fourth of five and triggering unusually high show payoffs. Of $234,122 in the show pool, $215,581 was bet on Mayo on the Side. My Trusty Cat, who paid $11 to win, paid $22.80 to show. Our Josephina paid $34.60 to show, and Smoke Chaser, the third-place finisher, paid $24.60.

A 4-year-old, My Trusty Cat has been racing in stakes since she was 2. In six graded races, she had never finished better then third, but those starts all came at two turns, and in none of them did Rene Douglas ride her.

"I don't know what it is, but Douglas always seems to ride good for me," said trainer Dave Vance.

Vance experimented with My Trusty Cat in sprints earlier this year and recently began training her specifically to run short. "She's just a better horse as a come-from-behind sprinter," he said.

My Trusty Cat has one quick burst in her races, and Douglas recognized that before meeting Vance in the paddock Saturday.

"It's just three-sixteenths or a quarter of a mile, but that's enough," Vance said.

Douglas let My Trusty Cat settle in last, a few lengths behind Our Josephina, who ran an opening quarter-mile in 22.93 seconds and a half in 45.96 while pressured from the outside by an eager Mayo on the Side. My Trusty Cat advanced easily on the far turn and came out for a strong finish once she had straightened away in the stretch.

"I tried to be as patient as I could," Douglas said. "I got a hole and she took off."

My Trusty Cat finished in 1:23.54, as Mayo on the Side labored home more than seven lengths behind.

"She shipped up here [from Churchill] fine," said trainer Carl Nafzger. "No excuses -- no excuses right now."