08/12/2016 6:55PM

Stallwalkin' Dude repeats in Tale of the Cat

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Barbara D. Livingston
Stallwalkin' Dude and jockey Joe Bravo win the Tale of the Cat Stakes by 1 1/2 lengths Friday.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Stallwalkin’ Dude rebounded from a couple of subpar efforts to successfully defend his title in the $100,000 Tale of the Cat, rallying from off the pace to a 1 1/2-length victory over stablemate Chief Lion in Friday’s main event at Saratoga.

Stallwalkin’ Dude had finished fourth and fifth in his last two starts, both races run over muddy tracks at Belmont Park. But the 6-year-old veteran once again found Saratoga to his liking while benefitting from a nicely judged ride by jockey Joe Bravo.

Stallwalkin’ Dude, who stumbled briefly at the break, saved ground while racing about six lengths off a contested pace, swung wide commencing his bid into the stretch, then finished with good energy down the center of the track to readily wear down Chief Lion and win going away.

Stallwalkin’ Dude raced much closer to the lead before outgaming Scarly Charly by a nose to capture the 2015 Tale of the Cat.

Chief Lion, the tepid 7-2 favorite, raced forwardly from the outset, edged clear at midstretch, but proved no match for the winner while easily best of the others to give trainer David Jacobson a sweep of the top two placings in the Tale of the Cat. Easy to Say outlasted the others to finish third.

Stallwalkin’ Dude paid $18.20 after completing six furlongs over a fast track in 1:10.05.

“His last two races were a little off, we tweaked him a little bit, and he just showed his real class,” said trainer David Jacobson. “He’s run with some real good horses, and he ran down a very good horse today, Chief Lion. He obviously likes the track; he won over it last year. To win the Tale of the Cat two years in a row, to win any race two times in a row at Saratoga, is an accomplishment, it’s pretty cool.”