07/25/2013 3:26PM

Santa Rosa: Wine Country Stakes big jump for Catrageous

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One day after Armando Lage claimed Catrageous for $25,000 at Hollywood Park on June 20, he decided to run her in Saturday’s $50,000 Wine Country Stakes at the Sonoma County Fair in Santa Rosa. Catrageous will have five 3-year-old filly rivals in the 1 1/16-mile turf race.

Lage said he claimed Catrageous because of her consistency. In her nine starts before the claim, she had finished in the top three six times, including a maiden special weight win over the Golden Gate Fields Tapeta main track in February. Catrageous, who is by Tale of the Cat, ran third in the claiming sprint on June 20.

“I always thought very highly of that filly because she always puts in a great effort,” Lage said. “I didn’t think of this race the day I claimed her, but the very next day I saw this race and decided to point her to it.”

The Wine Country may be the last chance for those in the field to run in their own age group. Among those Catrageous will have to beat are Life Is a Stone, third in the grassy Campanile at Golden Gate on June 1, and Sweet Tess, third in the California Oaks in her last start on Feb. 9.

Catrageous has run twice on turf, finishing second in a maiden special weight at Santa Anita in October and seventh at Hollywood in December.

“I think she could be a better turf filly than on the main track,” said Lage. “Her dam is by Dynaformer, and she’s a closer, which is a better style on the turf.

“I always want to win every race, but I really tried to do a good job for this race. I created a plan for this race, mixing in a little light training and then seven-furlong works to try to keep some speed in her and keep her fit.”

It turns out there is another reason Lage is eager to win the Wine Country: Saturday is a special day for Mary Tucker, owner of Catrageous.

“The owner is such a generous client, and it’s her birthday,” said Lage.

Steve Sherman trains Sassy Brunette, who was sent north in May and has won both her subsequent starts. She took a $12,500 claimer on the Golden Gate turf and then a starter allowance on dirt at Pleasanton.

Sherman said he’s taking a shot in the Wine Country because it allows Sassy Brunette to stay with 3-year-old fillies.

“I really don’t know what to expect, but she’s training well,” said Sherman.