Kelso Handicap leads Catholic Boy into the Breeders' Cup

NYRA Press Office
September 08, 2019 03:45pm
Six-time graded stakes-winner Catholic Boy came out of his breeze on Saturday in good order and is slated to make his next start in Sept. 21 Grade 2, $300,000 Kelso Handicap at Belmont Park, trainer Jonathan Thomas said Sunday.

The 4-year-old son of More Than Ready, who has won Grade 1 stakes on both turf and dirt, including the 2018 Travers, breezed five furlongs in 1:00.40 on Belmont's dirt training track Saturday and remains on target to race for the first time since running second in the Suburban (G2) on July 6 on Big Sandy.

Catholic Boy, wearing blinkers with regular jockey and Hall of Famer Javier Castellano aboard, had three workouts at Saratoga in August before Thomas decided to skip the Woodward (G1) and instead look to the fall meet.

"We were really pleased with his breeze yesterday and it looked like he came out of it well," Thomas said. "The Kelso is certainly a target that we're going to go after."

The 39th running of the Kelso is a one-turn mile on the main track and willmark the first time Catholic Boy has run at the distance since finishing fourth in the 2017 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Del Mar. Since then, he has won the 2017 Remsen (G2) and the Travers on dirt and the Pennine Ridge (G3) and Belmont Derby (G1) last year on turf.

Thomas cited the Kelso's spot on the calendar, keeping open the possibility of running in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile or the Breeders' Cup Classic in November at Santa Anita.

"We felt the timing of the race was good for where we are in the training," Thomas said. "It's also in our backyard and it makes sense to try it."

In two starts this year, Catholic Boy, owned by Robert LaPenta, Madaket Stables, Siena Farm and Twin Creeks Racing Stables, won the Dixie (G2) at 1 1/16 miles on the Pimlico Race Course turf and returned to the main track in running second to Preservationist in the 1 ¼-mile Suburban, earning a 102 Beyer Speed Figure. Only his 104 for the Travers win last year was higher in his 12-race career.


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