07/29/2010 12:51PM

Rose Catherine becoming a turf sprint specialist


OCEANPORT, N.J. – Rose Catherine appears to have found her niche in turf sprints.

The runner-up in last year’s Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, Rose Catherine has really blossomed at distances ranging from 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 furlongs. She is 3 for 3 in those spots, and looks to add another Saturday in the $100,000 Mongo Queen for 3-year-old fillies at Monmouth Park.

Trained by Todd Pletcher, Rose Catherine faces seven rivals in the 5 1/2 furlong sprint.

It’s not that she can’t go long on grass. The Breeder’s Cup race was an example of a quality effort at one mile. After setting the pace, Rose Catherine was beaten only a half-length, an outcome that might have been closer had jockey Javier Castellano not lost his whip in deep stretch.

Earlier this year, Rose Catherine was third in the one-mile Appalachian Stakes at Keeneland after setting the pace.

Cut the distance, and Rose Catherine became a dominant force.

For the first time, Rose Catherine showed an ability to rate in her latest effort, a commanding second-level allowance win here on June 19.

Following that victory, Pletcher left her at Monmouth with his New Jersey division with the Mongo Queen in mind. He also left specific instructions.

“Todd told me to tell the exercise rider that she is a good work horse,” assistant Anthony Sciametta said. “She’s fast. We try not to make her work that fast but in her breezes, she puts up 48s. She came out of her last race in good order and she’s had three solid works. It’s all systems go.”

Chris DeCarlo will be aboard for the first time.

Spiteful Gypsy was also a last-out winner here, capturing a first-level allowance in her turf and season debut for trainer David Fawkes.

“She wasn’t screwed down that tight,” Fawkes said. “We wanted one more breeze, but we didn’t get it in. She had worked well, but it was a bit of an eye opener.”

Ready to Sing comes into the stakes looking for three straight wins for trainer Michael Stidham. She followed her maiden win on the dirt at Delaware Park with a sharp first-level allowance win at Belmont Park in her first grass attempt.

Go for Jan also captured her last two, both grass sprints at Churchill Downs.

Greeley’s Rocket, Trippi’s Sailor, Brilliant Sunshine, and Purely Perfect complete the field.