Catch a Glimpse rolls to Penn Mile victory
Catch a Glimpse led all the way in the Grade 3 Penn Mile. Photo by The Racing Biz.
by Frank Vespe
Florent Geroux nearly had a bad day.
The young rider was aboard Conquest Serenade in this evening’s first race at Penn National, the $200,000 Penn Oaks, when that runner clipped heels with Involuntary, sending both Conquest Serenade and Geroux to the turf.
Both got up, and both walked off, and that turned out to be a good thing — in more than one way — for Geroux.
Geroux came back later to win two of the evening’s four stakes, first in the Mountainview aboard S’maverlous and later, and more significantly, the Grade 3, $500,000 Penn Mile aboard the dazzling filly Catch a Glimpse.
“I don’t remember the last time it happened,” Geroux laughed when asked if he could recall such a day. “It worked out pretty good. Sometimes you break something.”
In the Penn Mile, Catch a Glimpse, a filly taking on males, broke alertly and Geroux was able to steer her to the rail and dole out the fractions on the lead. Catch a Glimpse guided the field through a moderate early tempo, a quarter-mile in 23.99 seconds and a half in 47.96, with Maryland-bred Giant Run her closest pursuer.
Catch a Glimpse maintained a length lead through three-quarters of a mile in 1:11.39, and then immediately put away her rivals when asked entering the lane, growing the lead to three lengths at the furlong grounds.
“All the time, she’s always doing the dirty work,” said Geroux. “She’s by herself.”
“She was really, really calm today,” said assistant trainer Norm Casse, son of trainer Mark. “She was able to just lope out on the early lead and pick up when it was time to go.”
Catch a Glimpse, a daughter of City Zip out of the Irish River mare Halo River, flew home the last quarter mile, covering that distance in a sharp 23 seconds flat to stop the timer in 1:34.39.
Airoforce, also trained by Casse, was the only other runner to show late interest, rallying nicely under Trevor McCarthy from sixth to earn second, 2 1/4 lengths behind the winner and a length clear of Giant Run, who held third.
Catch a Glimpse, a half-sister to graded stakes winner Old Forester, has now won seven consecutive races and has never lost on the turf. Six of those wins have come in graded company, and she won last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. She may make her next start in the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Oaks.
For all that, her antics in the stretch of some races — wandering about, switching leads — have given some observers pause.
But neither Casse nor Geroux seem bothered by what in most horses would be a bad habit.
“The more she runs, the more professional she’s going to get,” said Casse. “I think she gets away from the competition and she wants to give them a break.”
Geroux agreed. “She lost her focus,” he said.
And both added words that have to give the connections of the nation’s other grass fillies nightmares.
“She hasn’t learned to put away horses like a true professional would,” said Casse. “But she will.”
“She’s super-nice,” Geroux added. “I think she’s getting better.”
NOTE: One race prior, in the $200,000 Mountainview Handicap, favored S’maverlous stalked the pace under Geroux before taking charge in the lane to win by 2 1/2 lengths, with Red Rifle in second and West Virginia-bred Charitable Annuity, who led early, holding third. Top Billing was pulled up sore and vanned off.