10/06/2004 11:00PM

This time, listening to little brother paid off


VANCOUVER, British Columbia - When Avenging Kat ($6.70) upset favored Backseat Becka in the $100,000 Sadie Diamond Futurity last Saturday, perhaps the most surprised person was her jockey, Pedro Alvarado. In fact, Alvarado initially preferred to ride a different horse, but his younger brother Felimon, who trains Avenging Kat, convinced him otherwise.

It wasn't that Pedro thought that Avenging Kat didn't have enough talent. She displayed plenty of ability in her lone start, an easy win going 3 1/2 furlongs, and if Alvarado had asked her at all down the lane, she would have likely set a track record. It's just that he thought that with only one start and a slow five-furlong work following her win, she might not be fit enough to win going 6 1/2 furlongs. Felimon, on the other hand, was very confident going into the race.

"She had a lot of miles under her and was plenty fit. I knew what we had in the barn," Felimon Alvarado said. "Pedro came by that morning and told me he thought that Speed Victor, who he was riding for me in the Jack Diamond Futurity, had the best chance. But I told him I thought the filly was going to win. He looked at me like I was crazy, but I told him she was ready."

Another worry Pedro had was that with all of the other speed in the race Avenging Kat would get hooked and come up short in the stretch.

"I knew she could rate," said Felimon. "In the morning she'll do whatever you ask her to do. She's a very smart filly, and I told Pedro that even though she showed so much speed going 3 1/2 furlongs, she didn't need to have the lead to win. When I legged him up, I told him to just put her where you want and ask her when you need to."

Pedro did just that. Avenging Kat broke sharply but Alvarado took a hold of her and let her stalk a very fast first quarter set by Vic's Sweety. He let Avenging Kat loose approaching the quarter pole, and she easily went to the lead. She took a one-length lead into the stretch and had plenty left to hold off the late charging Backseat Becka.

"He's a lot smarter than I thought," said Pedro with a laugh. "I really didn't think she would be ready but she ran a powerful race, and he was absolutely correct when he said she didn't need the lead. She's going to be a nice filly."

According to Felimon, Avenging Kat won't start again until next year.

"She came back with a very small chip; you can barely see it," he said. "So, we'll get it taken out and take her home. She should be a very nice 3-year-old."

Terry Clyde, who owns and trains Backseat Becka, wasn't disappointed with her second-place finish. In fact, Clyde said he was happy that she didn't win.

"We drank all the beer and celebrated anyway," she said. "We were trying to think of a horse that turned out half-decent after winning the Futurity and we couldn't come up with one. We figure we're better off in the long run by finishing second."

Clyde also said that Backseat Becka will also be turned out for the remainder of the year.

"She's done enough," she said. "She won two stakes and finished second in a hundred- grander. That's a pretty good year."

Notis Otis, trained by Tracy McCarthy, remained undefeated with his impressive win in the Jack Diamond Futurity. Notis Otis stumbled slightly coming out of the gate and then was bounced around by Singing Devil, who tried to get out going into the first turn. Notis Otis still was good enough for a 1 3/4-length win while being hard ridden by Chris Loseth.

Hastings's all-time leading jockey, Loseth went to the whip at the three-eighths pole and never let up until the race was over.

"In his other races, there was always another horse to compete with, and when he opened up going down the backstretch, Chris said that he just wanted to make sure he kept focused," said McCarthy.

According to McCarthy, Notis Otis came out of the Futurity in excellent condition and will be pointed to the $75,000 Ascot Graduation Nov. 13.