Four races into his career, Catholic Boy looks like he may well have the stamina to be a Kentucky Derby player. The question will be if he has the speed and class.
The Remsen Stakes was his first race on dirt; previously he’d raced three times on turf. He won his debut at Gulfstream Park and then proved too strong at the finish of the 1 1/16-mile With Anticipation Stakes (G3) at Saratoga. He then closed quickly to finish fourth to Mendelssohn in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) at Del Mar.
Foaled on April 12, 2015 in Kentucky, Catholic Boy was bred by Fred W. Hertrich III and John D. Fielding. He was a $170,000 RNA at the 2016 Keeneland January sale as a short yearling, and was subsequently bought privately by prominent owner Robert LaPenta. He is trained by Jonathan Thomas, a former assistant to Todd Pletcher.
Catholic Boy’s sire More Than Ready has had topliners on dirt and turf, and he’s also been a versatile sire in terms of distance; he’s sired two winners of Australia’s six-furlong Golden Slipper (G1) and five winners of 1 ½-mile Classics in Australia. If his progeny’s dam has stamina to pass on, he’s well capable of getting a horse capable of staying 1 ¼ miles in the Kentucky Derby.
Catholic Boy’s dam Song of Bernadette (Bernardini) comes from a family that has a number of stakes-performing relatives have succeeded up to 1 1/16 miles, and his third dam Lucky Us (by leading stamina influence Nijinsky) is the dam of Lucky Song, winner of the 1 13/16-mile Park Hill Stakes (G2) in England.
In all his 2-year-old races Catholic Boy settled midfield and made a strong move from the final turn onward. He looked full of running at the end of the Remsen, and Thomas believes Catholic Boy will get better as he races over longer distances.
Catholic Boy wasn’t an individual option for Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, so he’ll be among those cheered on by punters who took the “all others” option in that pool. But he’ll probably be an individual option for at least the second pool. His prep races next year should be followed with interest.
(Catholic Boy winning Remsen S. Photo by Chelsea Durand/Coglianese Photos)