Fancy Feline

- -

Late in the 2017 Saratoga season, John Morrison called it. Anyone who listened, or better yet read the Fasig-Tipton Little Guy Stable Tour in The Saratoga Special, was not caught off guard watching the final strides of Thursday’s $100,000 Union Avenue Stakes.

“I think she’ll be more than OK,” Morrison said of the then 2-year-old filly by Courageous Cat named Carrera Cat.

She’d run once to that point, finishing fourth behind future stakes winner March X Press, and been called plenty of other things besides OK. Exercise rider Laura “Tils” Tilbury called the filly “All Business” and “Where Fun Comes to Die,” in a good way and mostly because she was “difficult first thing in the morning but as soon as you get the tack on and go to the track she’s the best.”

Nearly two years later, Carrera Cat proved best in the 6 1/2-furlong Union Avenue, overcoming a slight stumble at the start, rating off the early pace for Rajiv Maragh and running off to a 2 1/4-length victory over graded stakes winner and 8-5 favorite Holiday Disguise. Carrera Cat improved to 4-for-5 on the season for owners Jeffrey Tucker and Joe Gioia, who campaign the filly in partnership through their respective operations, Stone Bridge Farm and Very Un Stable.

“He’s the Stone and I’m the Un,” Gioia joked after meeting the filly they purchased privately from her breeder Will Farish when he boarded mares at Tucker’s Stone Bridge Farm in Ganesvoort about 20 minutes from Saratoga Race Course.

Gioia and Tucker also heard about Carrera Cat, long before readers of The Special or even Morrison and Tilbury.

“She was raised at our farm, Joe liked her and said, ‘Let’s buy her,’ ” Tucker said. “He knows a little about the family and our farm manager said that she thought it was the best horse out of that mare.”

To read the rest of the Union Avenue recap, download Friday’s digital edition of The Saratoga Special presented by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners.