Catalina Cruiser and Giant Expectations both exited their stretch battle in Saturday's $200,000 Grade I Pat O'Brien Stakes at Del mar in good health, their respective camps reported Sunday.
With the nose victory in the O'Brien, a “Win and You're In” qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile, Catalina Cruiser's connections – trainer John Sadler and owner Hronis Racing – have the guarantee of a spot in the race where the 5-year-old son of Union Rags finished sixth a year ago, his only loss in an eight-race career.
Or they could possibly choose the 6-furlong Sprint, a distance where Catalina Cruiser is 2-for-2. But those are decisions for a later time.
“He came out of the race really well,” Sadler said Sunday morning. “I'm really pleased with his race. It was really a game win in really good time.”
The stakes win was No. 75 at Del Mar for Sadler and moved him past Charlie Whittingham to No. 3 on the trainers' all-time list.
“It means a lot to me because he was one of the most iconic guys in my career,” Sadler said. “He was a guy everybody idolized around here for a long time. I'm honored to be in that group.”
Giant Expectations came up a nose short of his second O'Brien win in three years. But trainer Peter Eurton said he was “pleased and impressed” with the 6-year-old son of Frost Giant's game effort. “He's fine this morning and we'll take some time and talk to the owners, but we're certainly looking at the Breeders' Cup,” Eurton said.
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