01/07/2017 6:11PM

Watch This Cat continues sharp form sprinting in Las Cienegas

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Benoit & Associates
Watch This Cat, ridden by Corey Nakatani, romps by 8 1/2 lengths in the off-the-turf Las Cienegas.

ARCADIA, Calif. - Sprints – on dirt or turf – are a good fit for Watch This Cat these days.

In Saturday’s $98,000 Las Cienegas Stakes for fillies and mares at 6 1/2 furlongs on a muddy track, Watch This Cat rallied three wide to win the first stakes of her career. The race was scheduled for turf, but was switched to the main track early Saturday because of wet conditions.

Watch This Cat ($5.60), ridden by Corey Nakatani, was timed in 1:16.41. The Las Cienegas was her third consecutive win, preceded by victories in a starter allowance and an optional claimer on the hillside turf course in early October and early November.

“She’s built like a dirt horse,” trainer Richard Baltas said. “I think she wanted to sprint the whole time. She’s come around nicely.”

Baltas claimed Watch This Cat for $32,000 from a one-mile dirt race at Santa Anita in late June. Now owned by the partnership of Harry Bederian, Harout Kamberian, and Hagop Nakkashian, Watch This Cat has won 3 of 5 starts and earned $133,320.

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In the four-runner Las Cienegas, Watch This Cat was three wide on the backstretch, racing within 1 1/2 lengths of pacesetter Paquita Coqueta, who set fractions of 21.58 seconds for the opening quarter-mile and 44.44 for a half-mile.

Watch This Cat took the lead with a wide move and pulled clear in the final furlong to win by 8 1/2 lengths over Paquita Coqueta. Cadet Roni, the 3-2 favorite, finished third, beaten 12 3/4 lengths. She was last on the backstretch. Lajatico finished fourth.

The race drew five entrants. The multiple stakes winner Prize Exhibit was scratched early Saturday when the race surface was changed.

Watch This Cat has won 4 of 16 starts and earned $162,440. She was fifth in the Grade 3 Selene Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Woodbine in May 2015 when trained by Mark Casse.