It turns out that Catholic Boy was running on the wrong surface all along. Switching to dirt for the first time in his career, the two-year-old colt shocked the crowd at Aqueduct with a brilliant performance in the 2017 Remsen Stakes.
Bandito took the field as an 18⁄1 longshot and slowed the pace down to a :23.98 crawl over the first quarter mile. This allowed Avery Island, the highly touted 2⁄1 favorite, to sit in a perfect stalking position. Slightly ahead were Millionaire Runner and Vouch, an intriguing upset play at 11⁄1.
Hitting the half-mile in :48.97, the field streamed into the three-quarter pole at 1:14.33 tightly packed together with tension mounting. Millionaire Runner and Bandito both began to fall off the pace dramatically as Vouch made the first move, attempting to secure top spot in the second turn.
However, as the field rounded the final corner, Catholic Boy thundered to the front as a 4⁄1 second choice and left his rivals in the dust. The More Than Ready colt sailed to the wire comfortably with a 4 ¾ length win to claim the $250,000 race in high fashion.
Even his own trainer Jonathan Thomas was surprised by the output.
"We came over quietly confident he would show us a little something, but we never expected that," Thomas quipped after winning the 2017 Remsen.
With the victory, Catholic Boy brought back $10.20, $5.00 and $3.70. Avery Island was able to bully to second but made his move way too late. He returned $3.70 and $3.10 to place. Vouch submitted a strong performance but was overwhelmed in the stretch and paid $6.00 to show.
Alkhaatam, who had been the 2⁄1 co-favorite on the board, rallied from dead last to finish 4th ahead of Tap Rap Strike, Biblical and Millionaire Runner in that order.
The 2017 Remsen victory secured Catholic Boy 10 points on the Kentucky Derby trail and he now also demands some worthy attention heading into a new season of racing that features a tightly contested group of colts who will vie for supremacy along the Triple Crown trail.
|5||Catholic Boy 4-1||$10.20||$5.00||$3.70|
|3||Avery Island 2-1||$3.70||$3.10|