Santo Gato Quick As a Cat in Thursday Feature

Dan Lynch, Ken Sentel and Merrill Scherer’s Santo Gato broke in full stride and made the pace throughout in Thursday’s $51,000 Fair Grounds feature, an allowance and $40,000 optional claiming sprint transferred from the Stall-Wilson turf course and run at 5 1/2-furlongs over the main track.

The 2 1/4-length winner, ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan and trained by part-owner Merrill Scherer, accomplished the distance in 1:04.12 after early splits of 22.57 and 45.84, increased his career earnings to $140,544 with his third victory (all at Fair Grounds this season) from 20 lifetime starts and returned mutuels of $11.80, $5 and $3.60.

Sturges Ducoing’s Bergman, settled just off the early pace, continued willingly late to gain the place, paying $3.60 and $2.80 while finishing a half-length in front of Winning Connections’ Southern Vintage, who returned $3.80 in the third position.

Racing resumes Friday at Fair Grounds with the fourth of six Starlight Racing programs scheduled at the New Orleans oval this winter, featuring a special first race post time of 5 p.m.