Seeing the Stonestreet colors carried to victory by a promising youngster should be familiar to fans at Saratoga. Last year on opening day at Saratoga, Stonestreet and George Bolton sent out My Miss Aurelia for a debut victory. My Miss Aurelia went on to win three graded stakes in 2011, including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1). At season’s end, she was named Champion Two-Year-Old Filly.
On Friday, backed as the 9-5 top choice in the field of seven, Kauai Katie stumbled slightly at the start but quickly gathered herself from the rail and led by 1 ½ lengths through an opening quarter-mile in 22.29 seconds. The favorite extended her margin when put to a drive following a half in 45.67 before being geared down in the final sixteenth of a mile.
“Anytime you have a first-time starter you’re always worried they won’t get away cleanly and the rail sort of limits your options,” said trainer Todd Pletcher. “We knew she was quick and she was able to overcome that little bit of a stumble. She’s a fast filly and is bred to be precocious.”
Kauai Katie, a bay daughter of Malibu Moon, is out of More Than Pretty, who was runner-up in the restricted N.A.T.C. Futurity at Monmouth Park and a listed stakes at Mountaineer as a 2-year-old before going on to win a listed event at Churchill Downs at 3.
“I think [Kauai Katie will] excel at the shorter to mid distances,” said Pletcher. “We’ll see how she comes out of it and go from there, but we won’t rule out anything, yet.”
Kauai Katie was pinhooked for $90,000 as a yearling at Keeneland last September and was purchased by Stonestreet for $490,000 as a 2-year-old at Fasig-Tipton’s Florida sale in March.
–NYRA Press contributed to this report.
Kauai Katie/NYRA photo