Those charged with taking care of reigning Canadian Horse of the Year Catch a Glimpse have come to accept the behavior of their high-spirited filly.
When her mind is set on what she is and isn’t willing to do, it’s best to concede defeat and try another day. She can be flighty and obstinate and has inspired her share of exasperated head shakes.
She is also almost always forgiven. It is hard to stay angry, after all, with the sweet-faced filly that is so adept at delivering freakish efforts when she harnesses her temper for good.
Thankfully for trainer Mark Casse’s barn, handling Catch a Glimpse is a pleasure cruise compared to trying to outrun the 3-year-old filly on the track. After having her eight-race win streak snapped last time out by Jimmy Toner-trainee Time and Motion, Catch a Glimpse aims to get back to the business of wreaking havoc on her challengers as she heads into Saturday’s Grade I, $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland as the 2-1 morning-line favorite.
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The sophomore turf filly division is loaded with quality this season — as evidenced by the fact that Grade I winner Harmonize is no better than fourth choice on the QEII morning line. Prior to her runner-up finish in the Grade II Lake Placid at Saratoga on Aug. 21, Catch a Glimpse looked as if there were no scenario in which she couldn’t top her classmates as she was unbeaten on turf and had won at distances from 7 furlongs to 1¼ miles.
Since shipping back to Kentucky from Saratoga, assistant trainer David Carroll says he has seen a shift in the filly that is affectionately referred to as “his girl” around the barn. The maturity in her demeanor now outnumber the days of her being a problem child. And after watching her work 4 furlongs in 49 seconds over the Keeneland turf Sunday, Carroll’s already-upbeat demeanor was kicked up a notch.
“All her breezes in the spring here were on the dirt so I’ve actually never seen her breeze on the turf and she was just so smooth,” Carroll said. “I was very impressed with the way she moved. We’re going into the race here firing on all cylinders.
“Having not seen her all summer (while she was in Saratoga) and having her come back, there has been a change in her and it’s a change for the better. I’ve seen a big difference around the barn with her, in the stall with her. She’s just a bit quieter and more mature. She certainly means an awful lot to us and to me personally. I’d love to see her come back and win here Saturday.”
Catch a Glimpse’s affinity for Keeneland is well documented having won both the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf last October and the Grade III Appalachian Stakes over the course this April. While Time and Motion bravely ran down Catch a Glimpse by a neck in the Lake Placid, the latter did best her rival twice previously, once in the Breeders’ Cup and again in the 10-furlong Grade I Belmont Oaks Invitational on July 9.
On Wednesday, Catch a Glimpse put the kibosh on an attempted paddock schooling session at Keeneland when she dug her hooves into the ground and refused to budge.
“That’s her,” Casse said. “Just when you think she’s over everything, she’ll throw that at you to say ‘No, I still have it.’”
With Carroll watching her every step Thursday, she went through her paddock paces without issue. And whatever mood she is in Saturday, they know exactly what they can expect from her in terms of effort.
“This filly came to me as a Breeders’ Cup winner and I’ve just really enjoyed being around her,” said Carroll, who joined the Casse barn this March. “She can be a little highly strung but when you spend time with a horse day in and out you become emotionally attached to them.”
Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes
When: 5:30 p.m.
Where: Keeneland Race Course
For: 3-year-old fillies
Distance: 1 1/8 miles (turf)
Favorite: Catch a Glimpse (2-1)