Saratoga: Katie gets Rosie back on track in Adirondack
SARATOGA SPRINGS The banks aren’t open on Sunday.
Still, Rosie Napravnik was banking on Sunday.
Mired in an 0-for-48 slump dating back to Aug. 2, Napravnik came into the day with high anticipation, having been named to ride the morning-line favorite in both of the juvenile stakes at Saratoga Race Course.
One of them, Shanghai Bobby, scratched, but the bay filly Kauai Katie ran like a 2-5 favorite should, and won the Grade II Adirondack by 23⁄4 lengths over Salamera.
After having broken her maiden by 12 lengths, the daughter of Malibu Moon out of the More Than Ready mare More Than Pretty got a stiffer challenge from the competition this time.
She oozed poise and class in the paddock, walking calmly as the sun began to dip toward the treetops. She broke sharply from the gate and drew away in the stretch, as Napravnik kept her alert with a punctuating crack of the stick four strides from the wire.
“Just like in her first race, she comes out of there and does it so easily,” Napravnik said. “She’s even got her ears pricked and is sort of loping along.
“She had a little bit more pressure than she did in her debut, but I really think she’s the type of filly that’ll handle anything, because she’s very mentally stable.”
“We threw a lot at her coming back in three weeks off one 51⁄2-furlong race and stretching out to 61⁄2 and setting fast fractions and a drying-out, tiring racetrack,” trainer Todd Pletcher said. “I was very impressed that she was able to overcome all that.”
Napravnik, who won the first race on opening day, had not had a winner since Aug. 2, with Tuvia’s Force.
She was 7-14-16 from 114 starts heading into Sunday’s card, and didn’t finish better than fifth with her first three mounts.
Her ace in the hole was Kauai Katie, and wearing the familiar gold silks with the big burgundy “V” of Stonestreet Stables, Napravnik rode the filly with the utmost confidence.
“It’s always discouraging, especially when people make a comment about it, but nobody that’s in a slump forgets how to do their job,” she said. “There’s bad luck involved, there’s good luck involved. I lost on a couple of bombs the other day, I had an unlucky trip. That stuff happens, and it’s all about keeping a positive attitude.”
“But, yeah, hopefully, everybody will keep their mouth shut now,” she added with a smile, sweetly.
It was impossible for anyone connected to Kauai Katie to not beam with admiration after she won so comfortably .
She is named after the daughter of Stonestreet owner Barbara Banke and the late Jess Jackson, and Katie Jackson was in attendance.
Kauai Katie took control right from the start, and responded to Napravnik’s urging at the top of the stretch to shake away from Vitameta and Salamera.
“I knew I had a lot of horse underneath me, and we were just able to wait,” Napravnik said. “I did ride her down the lane, but she was obviously the best here today. I could feel the six [Salamera] coming a little bit. But they weren’t going to get to us today.
“She exceeded everybody’s expectations the first time and really backed it up with today’s performance . . . ”
“She got tired today,” Pletcher said, in reference to what was different from her first race. “You could tell the last 100 yards that the 21 [seconds for the quarter-mile] and 44 and change [for the half] were getting to her a little bit, but what I liked was she stayed focused, she stayed straight and she found a little more when she needed it.”