Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile Division
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.
- October 11, 2019
This is the eighth 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. For more information, please visit www.breederscup.com.
- October 3, 2019
This is the seventh 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. For more information, please visit www.breederscup.com.
- September 18, 2019
This is the fifth 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.