Preservationist emerges in Suburban upset of Catholic Boy

July 06, 2019 06:32pm

Trainer Jimmy Jerkens has taken a patient approach to Preservationist’s career, not electing to try him in stakes company until Saturday’s Grade 2, $700,000 Suburban at Belmont Park.

“Forced patience,” Jerkens clarified after Preservationist ran up the rail to upset odds-on favorite Catholic Boy and establish himself as an older horse to watch. On the road to the Breeders’ Cup Classic, the 6-year-old clocked 1 1/4 miles in 1:59.99 under jockey Junior Alvarado.

“We always knew he had a lot of talent,” Jerkens said. “It was very frustrating to never get any continuity with him. Something would happen.

"...He's got narrow feet for a big horse. Maybe now he's old enough to where they're finally holding up."

Off at 7-2, Centennial Farms’ son of Arch received respect nonetheless from the wagering public when making just his eighth career start. He earned that stakes try with victories entering Saturday in four of his last five races in a run stretching back to January of 2018.

On Saturday, Preservationist went out to set a slow pace alongside of Realm, opening in 24.48 seconds for the first quarter mile. Catholic Boy then took control with a strong middle move and appeared to be traveling well.

"I saw how the other horse wanted by me," Alvarado said of Catholic Boy. "He was a little keen. At that point, I was in the lead, but my horse was running in a nice rhythm. I didn't want to change anything. I didn't want to push him more to keep the lead."

"He didn't relax in the first part of the race," said Javier Castellano, who rode Catholic Boy, "and I think that's what cost me the race."

Perhaps Catholic Boy went too fast, quickening to a half mile in 48.09 seconds before 3/4 went in 1:11.69. Preservationist drove up the rail to gain the lead, then distanced himself by 4 1/2 lengths at the wire.

Catholic Boy ran on for second over the consistent Pavel in the field of 10.

Jerkens said he’s unlikely to go on to the Aug. 3 Whitney (G1) with Preservationist. Later in Saratoga’s meet is the Woodward (G1), another feature for older horses.


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