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El Gato Malo Rerouted to Monday's Morvich Handicap at Santa Anita

October 10, 2011 · By Erin Birkenhauer · Share

ARCADIA, CALIF - El Gato Malo aka "The Bad Cat" turns to graded stakes competition for the first time since January of 2009 on Monday, joining seven other runners in the $100,000 Morvich Handicap (G3) at Santa Anita.

El Gato Malo was originally entered to run in Saturday's Oak Tree Mile. However, Terry Finley and trainer Craig Dollase called an audble and rerouted to the Morvich, what looks like a better spot.
 
Our 6-year-old son of El Corredor returned from a tendon injury in July of 2011, having spent more than a year on the sidelines after running second in the Dallas Turf Cup Handicap on May 31, 2010. In his past three starts since then, he’s been third twice and second once - running competitively in the Ralph M. Hinds Handicap, the Windy Sands Handicap, and the Alamedan Handicap.

“He hasn’t found the winner’s circle yet but he’s been running well against salty competition,” trainer Craig Dollase said. “We know he likes the turf and when he’s in top form, he can definitely compete at this level. After talking with Terry this morning, we agreed that he's got a better chance to win the Morvich than he does the Oak Tree Mile. On paper it's the better spot. He's got tactical speed, so I think he'll handle the shorter distance.
 
“El Gato Malo is a hard knocking son of a gun,” said Terry Finley. “We’re thrilled to have him back and competing at a high level this year. He’s a neat horse that has run some really good numbers. With the cutback in distance he could be dangerous in here.”

El Gato Malo is a two-time graded stakes winner, with victories in the 2008 San Rafael Stakes (G3) and Lone Star Derby (G3). In the Morvich, race eight on a nine-race program, he’ll break from post four carrying 118 pounds under jockey David Flores. The Morvich is scheduled with an approximate post time of 4:38 p.m. Pacific.  
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