Kauai Katie Romps as Brilliant Favorite in Forward Gal
Stonestreet Stables LLC’s 3-year-old filly Kauai Katie was sent off the 3-to-10 favorite in Saturday’s $200,000 Forward Gal Stakes (G2) at Gulfstream Park going seven furlongs under jockey John Velazquez and ran to her odds as she drew off to score by 5 1/2 lengths over Michael Dubb’s My Happy Face in the field of six.
Kauai Katie was winning for the fifth time in six career starts, most recently running off to win the six-furlong Old Hat Stakes (G3) here on New Year’s Day by eight lengths for trainer Todd Pletcher’s powerful stable. The daughter of Malibu Moon was a $490,000 Fasig-Tipton March 2-year-old sales purchase. She paid just $2.60 for $2 to win and was timed in 1:22:13.
“She ran the race we were hoping for,” said Pletcher. “We really weren’t sure whether she would be on the lead or not, but once she broke so alertly there was no point to try and take her back. I’d say that’s it for her at Gulfstream with the next two races at a mile-and-a-sixteenth and a mile-and-an-eighth. As I’ve said before the major summer goals for her will be the Prioress and Test at Saratoga. She’ll freshen up a little for now.”
Velazquez said “We expected to be in front, thinking that My Happy Face would show some speed, but I ended up on the lead straight out of the gate so I let her do her thing. When I asked for more at the quarter-pole she went instantly with ease, very impressive.”
Kauai Katie won her first three starts in New York last year, including the Adirondack Stakes (G2) at Saratoga and Matron Stakes (G2) at Belmont Park before suffering her lone defeat finishing fourth in the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G2) at Santa Anita on Nov. 3 behind Beholder in her first and only attempt in a two-turn race.
Marylou Whitney Stable’s Pow Wow Wow chased Kauai Katie in second down the backstretch before giving way, but held third, 2 ¾ lengths behind My Happy Face. Pletcher also sent out Aquino Stable’s Fusaichiswonderful in the race making her first start after winning all five of her races last year in Puerto Rico and she finished fourth.