OwnerRobert V LaPenta & Madaket Stables LLC & Siena Farm LLC & Twin Creeks Racing Stables LLC
BreederFred W. Hertrich III & John D. Fielding
SireMore Than Ready
DamSong of Bernadette
Trainer Jonathan Thomas knows the versatile Catholic Boy very well. They first met at the 2016 Keeneland January sale and became better acquainted when the bay received his early lessons under saddle at Bridlewood Farm in Ocala, Florida where Thomas is based. Thomas recognized his student as a precocious runner, but not a short distance sprinter so he plotted a 7 ½-furlong race for his career debut in the summer of 2017. The best option happened to be on turf and Catholic Boy fulfilled his promise with a victory. Five weeks later, he won again on grass before finishing fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) at Del Mar. Catholic Boy confirmed Thomas’ belief that he also would excel on dirt by closing his two-year-season with a triumph in the Remsen Stakes (G2) at Aqueduct. That victory caught the attention of those seeking a ready-made Kentucky Derby (G1) prospect. His owner Robert LaPenta, who purchased Catholic Boy privately after he was listed as not sold as a newly minted yearling on a final bid of $170,000 at the Keeneland sale, sold a percentage to Madaket Stables. Sienna Farm bought in prior to his fourth-place effort in the Xpress Bet Florida Derby (G1). Catholic Boy bypassed the 2018 Kentucky Derby and instead won the Penine Ridge Stakes (G3) with Twin Creeks Racing Stables rounding out the ownership group. He then capped a three-race winning streaking with the 2018 Run Happy Travers Stakes (G1) prior to being unplaced in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). He was rested through the winter and returned with a victory in the Dixie Stakes (G2) May 18 on the turf at Pimlico, but is targeting dirt races as he prepares for a return to the Breeders’ Cup Classic. He finished second in the 1 1/4 Suburban at Belmont Park on July 6. Thomas, a former assistant to Todd Pletcher, compares his relationship with Catholic Boy to watching a child grow up. Their connection includes Catholic Boy being stabled a few hundred yards from his home at Bridlewood Farm during the winter. In addition to his overall adaptability for dirt and turf competition, Catholic Boy displays versatility in individual races. “He’s a super horse,” jockey Javier Castellano said after the Dixie. “You can do whatever you want. He can be on the pace, or he can come from behind.” Catholic Boy’s name is a nod to his mother, Song of Bernadette, a title of a 1943 movie about a young French girl who believes she has seen the Virgin Mary.
- September 17, 2019
Little change for Week #15 in the latest Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings as Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman’s 4-year-old McKinzie holds onto the top spot with 287 votes, and maintains a solid lead over two-time Dubai World Cup (G1) winner, Thunder Snow (IRE), who has 183 votes in second place.
- September 11, 2019
This is the fourth of nine weekly news releases focusing on the horses and races leading to the 36th Breeders’ Cup World Championships on Friday, November 1 and Saturday, November 2 at Santa Anita.
- September 10, 2019
Coming off a very quiet week in the Classic Division, the latest Breeders’ Cup Classic Rankings remain virtually the same as the results from last week’s poll. Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman’s 4-year-old McKinzie leads the Top Ten, with the next six positions staying intact from Sept. 3.