Robert LaPenta and Madaket Stables’ GIII Sam F. Davis S. runner-up Catholic Boy (More Than Ready) will make his next start in the Mar. 31 GI Florida Derby, according to LaPenta’s racing manage John Panagot. This story was originally reported by the Daily Racing Form.
“This was our original plan and the horse gave us no reason to call any audibles,” Panagot said. “We felt the spacing from the Sam Davis to the Florida Derby would allow him to recover from his off-the-layoff effort in the Sam Davis. The Davis was a new top for him, we figured the seven weeks would give him every chance to recover from that.”
Catholic Boy made his first three starts on the turf, including a win in Saratoga’s GIII With Anticipation S. He made his first start on dirt a winning one with a decisive score in the GII Remsen S. at Aqueduct Dec. 2, after which Sol Kumin’s Madaket Stables bought in. The bay kicked off his sophomore campaign Feb. 10 with a runner-up effort behind Flameaway (Scat Daddy) in the Sam Davis at Tampa.
“We like the fact that the shipping is convenient, given he trains just up the road in Ocala [at Bridlewood Farm],” Panagot said. “We have discussed sending him to Gulfstream nine or 10 days prior to the Florida Derby, so he can situate himself, breeze there and school that week. We’ll let [trainer] Jonathan Thomas finalize those details, he has managed this horse’s training with precision to this point in the horse’s career.”
Panagot added, “The race will be tough, as it should be for a $1 million Grade I. Hopefully Catholic Boy keeps improving for us. He’ll have to as there are a few horses penciled in for the race that seem to be doing just that.”