Maryland-bred Cathryn Sophia scores in Kentucky Oaks
Cathryn Sophia winning at Laurel Park. Photo by Laurie Asseo.
From a Churchill Downs release
Cash Is King LLC’s Cathryn Sophia took control at the head of the stretch and went on to post a 2 ¾-length victory over Land Over Sea to win the 142nd running of the $1 million Longines Kentucky Oaks (GI) for 3-year-old fillies before a record Oaks Day crowd of 124,589.
Friday’s attendance broke the mark established in 2015 of 123,763.
Trained by John Servis and ridden by Javier Castellano, Cathryn Sophia covered the mile and an eighth on a fast main track in 1:50.53. It was the first victory in the Oaks for Servis and Castellano.
Prior to the Oaks, Servis had told The Racing Biz that he thought his filly, who went off as the 4.70-1 second choice in the 14-horse field, “deserved a shot” in the Oaks after she was beaten narrowly in the Grade 1 Ashland at Keeneland.
Privately, however, he was more confident than that.
“I talked to John pretty much every day since the Ashland,” said owner Chuck Zacney of Cash Is King LLC. “He was just so confident in his filly. I was cautiously optimistic. Every time I talked to him, his confidence was just bubbling over.”
Terra Promessa led the field of 14 through fractions of :23.32, :47.87 and 1:12.60 while racing on an uncontested lead as favored Rachel’s Valentina, Lewis Bay and Cathryn Sophia lurked in the second flight.
On the far turn, Lewis Bay moved to the inside of Terra Promessa while Rachel’s Valentina attacked in the three path and Cathryn Sophia moved four wide.
By the time the field hit the top of the stretch, Cathryn Sophia had rocketed to the front and quickly established a daylight advantage and never was threatened in the run to the wire.
The victory was worth $564,200 and increased Cathryn Sophia’s earnings to $859,720 with a record of 6-5-0-1. It was the third graded stakes victory for Cathryn Sophia and the first Grade 1 for the Maryland-bred daughter of Street Boss out of the Mineshaft mare Sheave.
Cathryn Sophia returned $11.40, $5.40 and $3.80. Land Over Sea, ridden by Mario Gutierrez, returned $6.60 and $5.20 with Lewis Bay finishing a neck back in third and paying $4.60 to show under Irad Ortiz Jr.
Go Maggie Go finished another head back in fourth and was followed in order by Mo d’Amour, Rachel’s Valentina,Weep No More, Dream Dance, Paola Queen, Terra Promessa, Royal Obsession, Venus Valentine, Mokat and Taxable.
““She felt like she belonged with this group,” exulted jockey Javier Castellano after the race. “What a filly! It feels great.”
Cathryn Sophia was bred in Maryland by Robert Manfuso, who then sold her at the Timonium yearling sale. Zacney, who bought her at that sale, indicated that he went there hoping to take advantage of the improving Maryland breeding program — but he got a whole lot more than that.
“I was looking for a Maryland‑bred horse in 2014,” he explained. “Went to the Fasig‑Tipton sale and picked her out. She wasn’t a big filly, but she was athletic. And we got her for $30,000. And what a bargain today!”
Zacney named the filly for his niece, Cathryn Sophia McCarry, a student at Rowan University in New Jersey. The human Cathryn Sophia was all smiles after her equine namesake’s smashing victory, which was the first of the filly’s races she had attended.
“It’s a thrill,” she said. “It’s a privilege, too, to be here, to be named after the horse that just won. It’s an amazing feeling.”