Turfside Dining Room
Puss n Boots tradition lives on at The Fort
The Puss n Boots tradition continued at Fort Erie Race Track on Monday, with Auntie Katherine sending jockey Juan Crawford diving into the infield pond.
A field of 11 horses broke from the gate for the annual one mile and one sixteenth race, which was moved off the turf and onto the main track due to heavy rains overnight in Fort Erie. It’s the second big cup race this season that Auntie Katherine has claimed for trainer Jennifer Davis and owner Big Boy Racing. It was jockey Juan Crawford’s first Puss n Boots win, and his first plunge into the infield lake.
“I compared the fractions in the last race that I won with her, the Molson Cup, and I compared her to the boys and the fractions they were running. I know my filly was going to want the lead, so I took it and gave them something extra hard,” said a dripping Crawford after getting out of the pond. “Turning for home when I called on her she just exploded and I thought goodbye to you all. I knew I had tons of horse still and I wasn’t worried.”
Crawford continued with a thanks to the owners and trainer, adding “thanks to everyone who couldn’t come and witness it live, but are still watching and supporting us.”
In 1961, a horse named Puss n Boots was leading a race at the top of the stretch, when he decided to veer inward and take a refreshing dip in the infield pond. In honour of his impromptu swim, Fort Erie Race Track holds the Puss n Boots Cup every summer. In 1996, owner Robert Elkins boasted that he’d jump into the infield lake if his horse Dancing for Beans won the race. Rider Francine Villeneuve brought her horse from last to first, sending Elkins for a swim. Each year since, the winning connections take the traditional jump into the infield pond.
Also featured on Monday’s card was the Andy Passero Memorial Cup. Sea Anna Dream was placed first, after a jockey claim of foul for interference at the top of the stretch against the first place finisher, Express Banking and jockey Juan Crawford from Sunny Singh with Our Petunia. The claim of foul was upheld by the stewards, placing Express Banking in seventh and moving Sea Anna Dream to first, returning $44.20 to her backers.
“It’s amazing, I couldn’t believe it,” said Michael Cohen, trainer for Sea Anna Dream. “It’s an unfortunate situation for the first place finisher, but I feel pretty happy. Andy Passero was a great man and I feel very fortunate to win this race and carry the memory on.
Racing returns on Tuesday at 1:10pm. Fans can watch online at http://forterieracing.com/streaming-and-replays.