Woodford Racing's Catapult, whose victory in the Grade II $250,000 Eddie Read Stakes secured the 2018 Top Grass Horse of the Meeting title, will take on five rivals in defense of the title Sunday.
“He's trained very well for it and we're excited about having him back down here and his chances in the race,” trainer John Sadler said Thursday morning.
Sadler, a major force at Del Mar in recent years, got off to a fine start with a victory by Irish import Jasikan in the Runhappy Oceanside Stakes on the opening day program. He'll send out heavily favored Catalina Cruiser in Saturday's Grade II $200,000 San Diego Handicap, the major prep for the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic on August 17.
Catapult followed the Eddie Read with a victory in the Grade II Del Mar Mile at the summer meeting and ended his 2018 campaign with a runner-up finish to Expert Eye in the $2 million Breeders' Cup Mile that raised his earnings for the year to $623,800.
The 6-year-old son of Kitten's Joy is winless in three Grade I starts in 2019, losing by a nose to Eddie Read entrant Ohio in the Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita in the one start on turf rated “firm” as it will be for the Read. Purse earnings of $576,975 from his three 2019 starts increased Catapult's career total to more than $1.5 million.
Post positions were to be drawn later Thursday for the 1 1/8-mile event, but the field in addition to Catapult, with regular rider Drayden Van Dyke, in alphabetical order is: Bowies Hero (Flavien Prat), Marckie's Water (Tiago Pereira), Ohio (Ruben Fuentes), Ritzy A.P. (Martin Garcia) and Sharp Samurai (Victor Espinoza).
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