John D. Gunther’s homebred Tiger Moth rallied on the far outside in Sunday’s $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic Stakes (G3) at Sam Houston to score a neck victory over 4-5 favorite Actress on the wire.
Fresh off his Pegasus World Cup (G1) triumph aboard Gun Runner at Gulfstream Park, jockey Florent Geroux flew to Texas to pilot Tiger Moth in the 1 1/16-mile race. The duo settled in the back of the eight-distaffer field as Adore led the close-knit bunch through opening fractions of :23.98, :47.99 and 1:13.21.
The battle for supremacy continued into the lane, with Sandy’s Surprise pouncing to take over in midstretch while chased by Martini Glass and the fast-closing Actress. Tiger Moth suddenly powered down the center of the track to join the fray, and was going best of all to finish 8 1/2 furlongs over the good track in 1:46.01.
Sent off at 17-1, Tiger Moth returned $36.60 for capturing her six-year-old bow in this spot for trainer Brad Cox. Actress had a length to spare over Martini Glass, who in turn stuck her neck in front of Sandy’s Surprise to take third.
It was another 4 1/4 lengths back to Ready to Confess, who was followed under the wire by Valadorna, Adore and Promise of Spring.
Tiger Moth earned her third stakes win in this spot, following scores in last year’s Groupie Doll Stakes (G3) and Mari Hulman George Stakes, and improved her career record to read 22-6-5-3, $642,107. The Street Sense mare’s scorecard also includes placings in the Falls City Handicap (G2), Azeri Stakes (G3) and Locust Grove Stakes (G3) from last season.
The Kentucky-bred Tiger Moth is out of the winning Sir Cat mare Saratoga Cat, making her a half-sister to Grade 2 hero and millionaire Last Gunfighter as well as the dam of last year’s Sorrento Stakes (G2) runner-up Dancing Belle. This female family also boasts champion and successful sire Dehere, and multiple Grade 2 victor Diabolo, who ran third in the 1975 editions of the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Preakness Stakes (G1).