Catholic Boy not '100%,' to bypass Kelso Handicap

September 18, 2019 01:23pm

Catholic Boy, the expected favorite for Saturday’s Grade 2, $300,000 Kelso Handicap, will bypass the race with trainer Jonathan Thomas not feeling the 4-year-old colt is race ready.

“Clearly, a horse like this, we’d only want to take him over there if he’s 100%,” Thomas said. “Even if there was a question mark, we would err on the side of caution.”

The son of More Than Ready, who has won Grade 1 races on turf and dirt, last appeared when second in Belmont Park’s July 7 Suburban (G2).

Since then, the Daily Racing Form reported Catholic Boy had a tooth removed that may have been causing him pain and also underwent chiropractic work following some slower-than-normal works.

The BloodHorse on Wednesday spoke with co-owner Robert LaPenta, who said Catholic Boy is dealing with a “day-to-day” suspensory issue under closer examination after the colt breezed a half mile Saturday in 51.59 seconds at Belmont Park.

Thomas clarified that the ailment is “definitely nothing major.”

“It’s just something we didn’t want to run with,” the trainer added. “I don’t even know that it’s an issue yet. We’re doing some diagnostics.”

Should Catholic Boy return to training soon, there’s still time to find a prep before the Breeders’ Cup Classic or Dirt Mile. Longer-term, he could remain in training through the Pegasus World Cup (G1) with a stud deal already signed with Claiborne Farm.

Catholic Boy — also campaigned by Madaket Stables, Siena Farm and Twin Creeks Racing Stables — has raced twice this season, with his other start an off-the-bench victory on grass in Pimlico’s Dixie Stakes (G2).

Last year, at 3, he won the Belmont Derby Invitational (G1) and Travers Stakes (G1) in succession to emerge as one of his crop's top runners.


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