HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Coco’s Wildcat went right to the lead in the $75,000 Cassidy Stakes Saturday at Gulfstream Park and never looked back.
The 2-year-old daughter of Wildcat Heir and Coco’s for Real (by Sword Dance (IRE)) broke alertly from the rail and was sent right to the lead by jockey Eduardo Nunez. She ran off to an uncontested lead in the field of 14, setting quick early fractions of 21.96 for the opening quarter mile and 45.05 for a half, but at the top of the stretch the filly was still full of run. Unchallenged, she sprinted home to a 5 3/4-length victory over Naval Command and Miss Amalita. She covered the 5 ½ furlongs in 1:04.90 for trainer Kathleen O’Connell and owner Gilbert G. Campbell and paid $10.40 to win.
“I had the rail and she has speed,” Nunez said. “It was easy. I think she’s going to be a nice filly.”
“Speed had been holding up today, so I wasn’t worried,” O’Connell added. “She has a lot of natural speed. Being in the one-hole, you’re almost committed to make that move.”
Coco’s Wildcat won her debut impressively, cruising home three lengths the victor in a maiden special weight on May 25. O’Connell said jumping the filly up to stakes competition in just her second career start wasn’t ideal, but the Cassidy was a logical fit on the calendar.
“We would have liked to have gotten a different-type race into her, but this was a good spot,” O’Connell said. “We’re lucky the one-post worked out as well as it did.”
Coco’s Wildcat is a homebred of Gilbert Campbell, who also bred her dam and grand-dam.
“She’s a really nice filly,” O’Connell said. “She acts really mature. Mr. Campbell’s had the family for a long time. It’s a lovely, lovely family.”
The Cassidy acts a prep for the upcoming Sire Stakes, set to begin on August 9 with the $100,000 Dr. Fager and $100,000 Desert Vixen stakes (filly division). However, since Coco’s Wildcat is not eligible for the series, O’Connell has other plans.
“We’ll probably be taking her up the road, since she’s not Sire Stakes eligible,” O’Connell said. “We’ll look for bigger and better things.”