Los Alamitos Race Course, Cypress, CA- August 9, 2003 - In the days before the Silver Strand Handicap, trainer Chris O'Dell admitted being concerned that the race's 350-yard distance would not suit his charge Catchmeinyourdreams. O'Dell should not have worried, as Kirk Goodfellow's Catchmeinyourdreams was impressive in defeating a field that included 2000 champion 3-year-old gelding Chicks First Policy Friday at Los Alamitos.
O'Dell figured that Catchmeinyourdreams, who has done well in 550 and 400-yard stakes races, would not be able to break quick enough to tangle with Chicks First Policy and company. That was not the case, as Catchmeinyourdreams broke right alongside Chicks First Policy, dueled his classy rival, but eventually pulled away to a neck victory in a time of :17.53.
"Chicks First Policy had me scared coming into this race," said O'Dell, who wins races at a solid 19% clip at Los Alamitos. "Catchmeinyourdreams is getting better and better leaving the gate and with his late speed he can be tough. He was a good last year but he has matured this year. He is wider, thicker and quicker this year. His turn of foot has gotten a lot better and he is running with a lot of confidence right now."
Catchmeinyourdreams has every reason to be confident; after all, the 4-year-old son of Pritzi Dash is the only horse to defeat Co-World Champion Whosleavingwho in the past nine months. Bred by Ed Allred, Catchmeinyourdreams accomplished the feat in the MBNA America California Challenge Championship on May 31.
"When a horse is running with confidence, he is a different horse," O'Dell added. "I rode for 12 years and I could feel when a horse was confident. They will not quit and will fight to be first at the finish every time. Horses know when they win; there is no doubt about that. And after they win a couple of races, all they want to do is win every time."
With Cody Jensen aboard, Catchmeinyourdreams battled Chicks First Policy during the first 300 yards before taking complete command. With Jensen sitting chilly throughout, Catchmeinyourdreams went on to score his sixth win in 25 starts.
"Wow, that was a great effort," Jensen said. "He's run some good races for me before but that was his best race yet. I was able to sit on him and I did not have to ask him. Then when it was time, he took off."
Catchmeinyourdreams is now expected to make his next start in the August 30 Go Man Go Handicap at Los Alamitos. Up for grabs in that race will be an automatic starting berth to the $500,000 Champion of Champions.
"The Champion of Champions - that's where we want to be at the end of the year," O'Dell said. "I've had one starter in the Champion of Champions (Special Phoebe) and I would love nothing more than have another horse in that race. That race carries so much prestige and everyone in Quarter Horse racing will be watching. Catchmeinyourdreams has a legitimate chance to be part of it this year."
Chicks First Policy, the winner of the California Sire's Cup Derby during his championship season, crossed the wire 1 1/2 lengths ahead of third place finisher Royal N Rowdy. Trained by Dan Francisco for Mimi Wells, Chicks First Policy was also the runner-up in the Golden State and PCQHRA Breeders derbies. Westmont and Gotabenuts completed the field.