08/10/2003 11:00PM

Whoopi Cat, 6-5 favorite, pounces to win Adirondack


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - After Whoopi Cat won her career debut last month by six lengths at Belmont Park, she was privately purchased by Derrick Smith and Michael Tabor. She was quick to pay dividends for her new owners on Monday when she won the $150,000 Adirondack Stakes at Saratoga Race Course before a crowd of 18,576 on an overcast and occasionally rainy day.

Whoopi Cat, the 6-5 favorite in the seven-horse field of 2-year-old fillies, won the Grade 2 Adirondack by 1 1/4 lengths over Unbridled Beauty. It was another 3 3/4 lengths back to Eye Dazzler in third. Lokoya, Wild Berry, Pierian Spring, and Earthquake Ride completed the order of finish in the 6 1/2-furlong race.

Under Edgar Prado, Whoopi Cat bobbled a bit at the break but quickly settled into stride. She raced in third position down the backstretch behind Unbridled Beauty and Eye Dazzler. Unbridled Beauty set a scorching first quarter of 21.37 seconds and followed with a half-mile time of 44.79.

Whoopi Cat came with an outside move at the top of the stretch and wore down a very game Unbridled Beauty in the final furlong.

Whoopi Cat ($4.70) covered the distance in 1:17.51 over a muddy track.

Prado, who won the Adirondack for the third time in the last five years, was impressed by Whoopi Cat's performance.

"To run this type of race this early in the year proves that she is a very good horse," said Prado, who rode three winners on Monday's card.

Trainer Patrick Biancone echoed Prado's opinion of Whoopi Cat, a daughter of Tale of the Cat. Biancone trained the filly when she won her first start on July 11 for her breeder, Richard Giacopelli, who then sold her to Smith and Tabor.

"It's only her second start," Biancone said. "I think she proved herself as a nice filly."

Biancone said the Grade 1 Spinaway on Aug. 29 here might be too soon for Whoopi Cat to run back. Biancone could await the Breeders' Cup preps at Belmont Park in the fall, the Matron or the Frizette, for Whoopi Cat's next start.