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Cat Feathers claws her way back to take Phipps Stakes

Winner part of all-Camden-based team

Posted: August 9, 2012 2:20 p.m.
Updated: August 10, 2012 5:00 a.m.

By TOM DIDATO

C-I (Camden, S.C.) sports editor

Longshot Cat Feathers tracked down Sweet Shani in deep stretch and went on to a 1 1/4-length victory in Thursday’s $75,000 Mrs. Ogden Phipps Stakes for fillies and mares in Thursday’s lone steeplechase on the Saratoga card.

The 4-year-old filly is trained in Camden by her owner, Kate Dalton, whose husband, Bernie Dalton, was aboard for the winning ride who was making her sixth career start over fences. The win was her second after Cat Feathers broker her maiden with a victory at the Charleston Cup Races last November.

The 12-year-old Sweet Shani (Brian Crowley) is the 2011 National Steeplechase Association filly and mare champion and is trained by Hall of Fame conditioner Jonathan Sheppard. The Doug Fout-trained Well Fashioned was another 5 1/2 lengths back in third. The winning time for the 2 1/16-mile chase over firm ground was 3:50.65.

A $2 exacta paid $317 while a winning $2 trifecta ticket paid $983. Cat Feathers came into the race with $6,618 in career earnings. She left the course having added $45,000 to that total with the win.

Sent off at odds of better than 23-1, Cat Feathers was running eighth in the field of nine after the first half-mile of a race led by Ross Geraghty aboard Maya Charli. The eventual race winner managed to work her way to fifth as the field went 1 ¾ miles.

Cat Feathers was still 5 ½ lengths behind Sweet Shani, who took over the lead from Maya Charli, as the field hit the top of the stretch. But Dalton made up ground and brought his mount to the right of Sweet Shani at the last fence. Cat Feathers would grab the lead with about 1/16th of a mile left and continued on for the upset victory as Sweet Shani, which carried a race-topping 155 pounds, was unable to mount a last-ditch charge.

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