Robert LaPenta, Madaket Stables, Siena Farm and Twin Creeks Racing Stables' Travers Stakes (Grade I) winner Catholic Boy tuned up for the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic (GI) with a five-furlong move in 1:01 Sunday with regular rider Javier Castellano aboard at Churchill Downs.
“It was a good work,” trainer Jonathan Thomas said. “It always takes a lot of anxiety out of our lives when these horses have their final works. Really, what was most important to me this morning, was to see he continued doing things the way he has been throughout the year.”
Catholic Boy worked during the exclusive window for Breeders' Cup horses at 7:30 a.m. (all times Eastern) through splits of :13, :24.80 and :36.80, before galloping out six furlongs in 1:13.60 and seven furlongs in 1:28.20, according to Churchill Downs Clocker John Nichols.
The 3-year-old son of More Than Ready has been stabled at Churchill Downs for 10 days from his home base in New York.
“I just wanted to get him down here early to see how he handled the new surroundings,” Thomas said. “You can see one work from a horse to get a sense if they like the track but the second work can really tell you a lot of how they're handling things.”
Catholic Boy won the G1 Travers on dirt and the G1 Belmont Derby on turf this year.
“He proved that he belonged on both surfaces,” said Castellano. “It's amazing. You don't see too many horses that can win on both surfaces like that, especially for that type of top-quality horses. For him to win the Travers, one of the best dirt races for 3-year-olds, the way he did it he really impressed and proved he belongs on dirt, also.”
Raymond Mamone's multiple Grade I-winning sprinter Imperial Hint received some rather unexpected company when he worked a half-mile in :48.80 Sunday at Churchill Downs in preparation for the TwinSpires Breeders' Cup Sprint (GI).
Imperial Hint began his half-mile breeze at the three-furlong pole. Meanwhile, Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott's Breeders' Cup Juvenile (GI) contender Topper T began his half-mile breeze approximately 10 seconds earlier from the half-mile pole.
“We weren't really anticipating having company,” said trainer Luis Carvajal Jr., who also has been acting as Imperial Hint's groom while he is at Churchill Downs. “I thought it was a very good work for us. I'm sure he could've easily gone a second or two faster.”
Imperial Hint, a 5-year-old Florida-bred son of Imperialism, began his work with fractions of :12.40 and :36.20, before galloping out five furlongs in 1:01.
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