News & Barn notes

Gunnison Rallies Late To Win $60,000 Tale Of The Cat Stakes

June 02, 2018


Gunnison surged in the final 100 yards to reel in favored Strike Me Down and went on to score a 1¼-length victory in the featured $60,000 Tale of Cat Stakes at Monmouth Park on Saturday. 

Ridden by Jevian Toledo and trained by Kelly Rubley, Gunnison covered the mile and a sixteenth over a turf course labeled “good” in 1:43.26. The 2-1 second choice in a field of six 3-year-olds, Gunnison was last at the first two calls and only had two horses beat after six furlongs before unleashing a strong finishing kick. 

The Graham Motion-trained Strike Me Down, meanwhile, took off from the field rounding the final turn and appeared on his way to the victory until Gunnison staged his strong rally. 

“For a second I didn’t think I was going to get there, because the turf is a little soft and I saw the horse on the lead (Strike Me Down) had a ton of horse,” said Toledo. “I knew I had horse but I wasn’t sure if it would be enough to catch him. But when I asked him he just kept going.” 

It was another 7½ lengths back to One Fast Ride in third. 

The victory was the third in seven career starts and second straight for Gunnison, a son of Bernardini-Madame Du Lac, who has won three of five as a 3-year-old. 

“He continues to improve,” said Rubley. “He was immature as a 2-year-old but we had confidence that he could be the type of horse he is developing into now. The best part about him is he is versatile. We don’t need to plan a perfect trip. He is able to change to the needs of the race.” 

Live racing resumes at Monmouth Park on Sunday, June 3, with an 11-race card.