Over three seasons of racing, the impeccably bred COURAGEOUS CAT has proven to be one of North America’s premier milers. A son of Storm Cat out of Grade 1 winner Tranquility Lake, and a full-brother to our own exciting young stallion AFTER MARKET, he is a horse blessed with a rare alloy of speed, stamina, class, and pedigree. COURAGEOUS CAT has traveled from New York to California, from Florida to Canada, and has rarely come up wanting when the chips are down. Conditioned by Hall of Famer Bill Mott for his breeders, Pam and Marty Wygod, COURAGEOUS CAT, also a full to the Group 2 winner and $9.7-million yearling Jalil, has won six times and earned in excess of $1.1 million. His victories include four graded wins over four different surfaces, including an important Grade 1 tally in the Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park.
COURAGEOUS CAT showed from the beginning he was something special. As a 3-year-old, he broke his maiden sprinting seven furlongs at Belmont, then wheeled right back to take the A Gift S. over the same surface. Though it came in an ungraded race, the performance raised eyebrows, as COURAGEOUS CAT stopped the clock for the 1 1/16 miles in a wicked 1:39 3/5, and the horse he beat, Al Khali, came back to win a graded race in his next start.
COURAGEOUS CAT was even more impressive in his next, the nine-furlong G2 Hall of Fame S. at Saratoga. Against the storied backdrop of the Spa, COURAGEOUS CAT was on the lead after a mile in 1:33 4/5 and flew home in a brilliant 1:45 4/5, which established a new stakes record while carving nearly four ticks off the old mark.
COURAGEOUS CAT was replicating his older brother AFTER MARKET’s feat in winning the Hall of Fame, and Mott was full of praise. “This [win] was very good,” he told The Blood-Horse. “This horse is probably a little quicker than [After Market]. Maybe he has a little more natural speed [and is] quicker on his feet.”
“The sky’s the limit the way he carried me today,” jockey Kent Desormeaux added. “I just got so much confidence in him. He’s a very, very nice horse. He’s going to be something special. He’ll win a Grade 1.”
After a close-up third in the G1 Jamaica H. back at Belmont, COURAGEOUS CAT nearly lived up to Desormeaux’s boast on the world’s biggest stage. In the G1 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Santa Anita, COURAGEOUS CAT took over after three-quarters in 1:08 1/5 and led into deep stretch before finding only the great Goldikova (Ire) too strong. He finished a half-length back of that esteemed miss while earning plaudits for a gutsy run.
“It was a huge effort,” Mott said. “I thought he might win it. He ran a winning race.”
Returning at age 4 in the one-mile, G3 Canadian Turf S. at Gulfstream Park, COURAGEOUS CAT showed what he was made of with a victory that can only be described as scintillating. Said the Brisnet.com report, “After closely stalking wicked early splits of :23 1/5, :43 4/5 and 1:08 2/5, the Breeders’ Cup Mile runner-up disposed of the pacesetter, but had to withstand a tenacious challenge…in deep stretch. He gamely prevailed by a head, just missing the course record when finishing the mile in 1:31.58.” The final time, incidentally, also just missed the world record for a mile on grass.
At five, COURAGEOUS CAT was better than ever. In his seasonal debut in the one-mile G3 Poker H. at Belmont, he aired by 2 1/2 lengths, then was sent across the country to contest the G1 Shoemaker Mile against the likes of Caracortado and defending champ Victor’s Cry. In another sterling performance, he held off the former while completing the mile in a sizzling 1:33.19. Said DRF’s Steve Andersen, “COURAGEOUS CAT’s gritty win in Saturday’s Grade 1, $300,000 Shoemaker Mile at Hollywood Park left winning jockey Patrick Valenzuela in a forecasting mood after the race. ‘I can almost guarantee he’ll win the Breeders’ Cup Mile, even if they bring that filly [Goldikova] over,’ Valenzuela said.” Unfortunately, all hope was lost for COURAGEOUS CAT in the Mile when, as he was poised to make a move in upper stretch, a rival came over abruptly and forced him to check hard.
COURAGEOUS CAT retired to Lane’s End with six wins, four in graded company, and earnings of $1,165,760.
One needs to look no further than COURAGEOUS CAT’s page to see the source of his dynamic physical abilities. His dam, Tranquility Lake, was one of Rahy’s best race fillies. First or second in 18 of 27 and an earner of over $1.6 million, Tranquility Lake was a Grade 1 filly on dirt and a Grade 1 winner on turf for the Wygods. A half to multiple Grade 2 winner and successful sire Benchmark, Tranquility Lake was produced by a half-sister to G1 Belmont S. winner Caveat. Tranquility Lake’s first foal was the brilliant AFTER MARKET, a dual Grade 1 winner of over $900,000. Her second foal was Jalil, a Keeneland September sales topper, and COURAGEOUS CAT made it three graded winners from as many to hit the track.
Lane’s End, having bought an interest in COURAGEOUS CAT, had as much confidence in the flashy bay’s innate ability as his connections, and has just as much confidence in COURAGEOUS CAT’s potential as a stallion. Call today to discuss his introductory fee as both commercial and breed-to-race operations can afford to put some “courage” into their breeding programs.