It has been a year of fits and starts for four-year-old colt Case’s Ticket (Feels Like Friday, by Anet). He debuted last January at the Fair Grounds, finishing eighth in a sprint against Louisiana-bred maiden special weight company. His second outing, March 4 of last year, showed improvement. He stretched to two turns for the first time, and splashed home third against similar company. It looked like he was on the right track.
He disappeared for most of the year, not returning until December 29. He took a class drop, facing claiming company for the first time: $40,000-$30,000 state-breds. The race was originally carded for 7 1/2 panels on the Fair Grounds turf, but washed to a mile on dirt. He finished third again, this time over dirt rated good. Second off the lay he was sent against state-bred special weight company on the grass, but never really fired.
Today, he dialed back to a sprint on the dirt.
In addition to shortening up to six furlongs, Case’s Ticket also took a class drop. He raced against the lowest class level of his career to date: state-bred $20,000-$15,000 maiden claiming. Seeing some changes tends to be generally positive with a maiden, so hopes were high that Case’s Ticket could figure it out today.
Case’s Ticket broke in the middle of the pack. He chased in the second flight early, about two and a half lengths off the pace set by Wetlands. Urged along through the turn, he started to make up some ground, but still looked pretty well swallowed up by the pack with just two furlongs to go. Turning for home, the early leader had begun to fade, but Case’s Ticket was running out of time to find his rally.
Space opened up in front of him. All of a sudden Case’s Ticket stopped inching ahead…and began surging ahead. Near the furlong pole, he split horses, got to the rail, and scampered away from the field. 25/1 shot Ima Big Colta chased as well as he could from the outside, but to no avail. Case’s Ticket was gone, and crossed the wire two and a half lengths clear.
Hopefully, today marks the beginning for Case’s Ticket. He found a race he liked, found company in which he was competitive, and found the winners’ circle third off the lay. He just turned four, and the Curlin babies tend to get better with age. He was not claimed out of the race, so he remains with the same connections as before. They have kept him against Louisiana-bred company, so it would make sense to see him remain there.
It will be interesting to see if Case’s Ticket remains in sprint, or proves to be a bit more versatile on distance. Based on his own race record, his second race suggests he may have some two-turn acumen. His pedigree suggests he may have some versatility of distance, as well. Though his dam never won, Feels Like Friday is full to Happy Ticket: a graded stakes winner going as long at nine furlongs, but as short as seven. Still, both of his half-siblings who have won (Yes It’s Friday and Star Friday) both got their pictures taken going sprint distances.
No matter what Case’s Ticket ends up doing in the future, today was a step in the right direction.