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Cat Feathers, Upstart earn honors from N.Y. Thoroughbred Breeders
CAMDENS KATE DALTON LEADS Cat Feathers around the paddock prior to a race in Charleston in 2013. Dalton is the owner-trainer of the 2014 New York-bred steeplechase horse of the year. - photo by Photo courtesy of Catherine French

Two horses with Camden ties were honored as being the top New York-bred Thoroughbreds in their divisions for the 2014 racing season.

Cat Feathers and Upstart were selected as best steeplechase and 2-year-old, respectively, which the Empire State had to offer last year.

The announcements were made at the Annual Awards Banquet of the New York Thoroughbred Breeders, Inc. (NYTB) held on April 6 at the Saratoga National Golf Club in Saratoga Springs, New York. The event, which was sponsored by the New York Breeding and Development Fund, was emceed by Richard Migliore, former leading New York jockey and currently a broadcast analyst for the New York Racing Association, Inc. and the Jockey Club Tour on Fox.

The 2014 New York-bred divisional champions and horse of the year were chosen by a ballot of New York turf writers, handicappers, chart callers and racing analysts conducted by NYTB.

Owned and trained by Camden’s Kate Dalton, Cat Feathers won the $75,000 Mrs. Ogden Phipps Stakes at Saratoga last summer with Dalton’s husband, Bernie Dalton, aboard on his regular ride. In her next start, the now-7-year-old Catienus mare was second in the $75,000 Mrs. Walter M. Jeffords Stakes, also run at Saratoga.

Cat Feathers opened her 2014 campaign by jumping against the boys and finishing third in the $50,000 Carolina Cup at the Springdale Race Course, which is where she is stabled. She made five starts over jumps last year, winning once with a second and third place finish while having earned $66,200.

Developed by Frank and Daphne Wooten at Frank Wooten Stables in Camden, Upstart was the New York-bred 2-year-old champion and is now firmly entrenched into the field for the Kentucky Derby to be run on May 2 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

A Flatter Ridgling, Upstart was sent from Camden to trainer Rick Violette Jr. He won his first start, a $73,000 maiden in Saratoga with Jose Ortiz aboard before the pair rode to victory in the $200,000-added Funny Cide Stakes at the Spa.

Upstart closed his 2014 campaign with a second in $500,000 Champagne Stakes (Gr. 1) at Belmont Park and then finishing this in the $2 million Sentient Jet Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (Gr. 1) at Santa Anita Park. With two wins, a second and a third from four starts a year ago, Upstart earned $463,800.

This year, Upstart secured a place in the Kentucky Derby with a win in the $400,000 Holy Bull Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. He was second in both the $400,000 Fountain of Youth Stakes (Gr. 2) and in the $1 million Florida Derby.

In seven career starts, Upstart has earnings of $971,480.



Upstart update:

A spike in fever snuffed out a scheduled breeze for Upstart last Saturday as Violette continued training up to the Kentucky Derby.

Violette was quoted as saying he and his staff would continue to monitor the situation but that Upstart was not showing any signs of feeling ill. "He looks wonderful. He’s not acting sick," Violette said before adding that it was better that the illness happened now rather than in the final days leading up to the Derby.

On Monday, it was reported that Upstart had rebounded from the setback and was scheduled to return to training.



Prospect Park out of Derby:

While Upstart continues work toward the Run for the Roses, another 3-year-old with Camden ties will sit the race out.

Prospect Park, developed at Mickey Preger Jr. Stables on the grounds of the Camden Training Center, ran a dull fourth in the $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 4. It was reported that the Tapit colt was not feeling well the day of the race and in the days following the Santa Anita Derby, Prospect Park was diagnosed as having spiked a fever while having other internal ailments which have since set him back.