Grade 1 Belmont Derby winner Catholic Boy, set to switch surfaces after consecutive victories on turf, will likely breeze Sunday over Saratoga Race Course's main track in his final serious move before the Grade 1 Travers August 25.
“He's carrying great flesh and moving well,” reported trainer Jonathan Thomas of the More Than Ready colt, who races for Robert La Penta, Madaket Stables, Siena Farm and Twin Creeks Racing Stable. “Javier [Castellano] seems pretty pleased with him. Sunday, weather permitting, we'll look for more of the same from him, a continuation of what we've been seeing the past few weeks. We've been pleased with how he's progressed, especially in the middle half of the year. He's put on good weight and has muscled up.”
Catholic Boy has hit the board in all eight of his career starts, with five victories, including turf wins in the Grade 3 With Anticipation last season and the Grade 3 Pennine Ridge this year, as well as a 4 ½-length score in the Grade 2 Remsen last fall over Aqueduct Racetrack's main track.
He began his 3-year-old campaign with a solid second in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs, but was given time off after bleeding in the Grade 1 Florida Derby, in which he finished fourth. With Castellano aboard, he then eked out a hard-fought victory over Analyze It in the Pennine Ridge and duplicated that effort in the 1 ¼-mile Belmont Derby.
“He's the kind of horse that makes life easy,” said Thomas. “We have all the faith in the world in Javier, and Manny [Franco] was huge in cultivating this horse as a 2-year-old. As well, you couldn't ask for a better bunch of people than his owners.”
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