Constitution's Catching Freedom Stylish in Smarty Jones Win

Catching Freedom | Casey Hoyt

Albaugh Family Stables' Catching Freedom, the 8-5 favorite, kicked off his sophomore campaign in style with a late-running victory in the Smarty Jones S. at Oaklawn Park Monday. Favored for his third-straight start, the bay colt was unhurried early Monday and settled well off the pace behind fractions of :23.02 and :47.01. He inched closer along the rail on the far turn, tipped out for running room approaching the stretch and rolled up four wide into the lane. Just to his inside off the turn was Just Steel (Justify), who grabbed command at midstretch, while Catching Freedom dawdled while racing greenly in the center of the track. Catching Freedom straightened out and quickened powerfully to inhale Just Steel late and strode clear to a two-length victory. He completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.59 and earned 10 points towards a berth in the GI Kentucky Derby.

“Very proud of the horse,” said winning trainer Brad Cox. “I think he's still learning. I think he was a little green there down the lane, but overall showed that he does have a lot of stamina and talent. I thought he stepped up and ran well against a solid group of 3-year-olds.”

A $575,000 Keeneland September yearling, Catching Freedom debuted with a 3 3/4-length victory going one mile at Churchill Oct. 1 and was coming off a troubled fourth-place effort behind 'TDN Rising Star' Parchment Party (Constitution) in a 1 1/16-mile optional claimer in Louisville Nov. 9. He is a half-brother to last year's GII Ohio Derby runner-up Bishops Bay (Uncle Mo). A 62nd stakes winner for Constitution, Catching Freedom is out of GISP Catch My Drift, purchased for $400,000 at FTKNOV by WinStar back in 2015. Her 2-year-old Improbable filly brought $385,000 from Centennial Farms at last year's Fasig-Tipton New York Saratoga Select Yearling Sale and she reported a filly by Not This Time last year and was not reported bred for 2024. Click for the Equibase.com chart or VIDEO, sponsored by FanDuel TV.

SMARTY JONES S., $300,000, Oaklawn, 1-1, 3yo, 1 1/16m, 1:44.59, ft.
1–CATCHING FREEDOM, 117, c, 3, by Constitution
                1st Dam: Catch My Drift (SW & GISP, $280,540),
                                by Pioneerof the Nile
                2nd Dam: Drift to the Lead, by Yonaguska
                3rd Dam: Drifa, by Tabasco Cat
($575,000 Ylg '22 KEESEP). 1ST BLACK TYPE WIN. O-Albaugh
Family Stables LLC; B-WinStar Farm, LLC (KY); T-Brad H. Cox;
J-Cristian A. Torres. $162,000. Lifetime Record: 3-2-0-0,
$237,350. *1/2 to Strava (Into Mischief), MSP, $347,623;
1/2 to Bishops Bay (Uncle Mo), MGSP, $212,600.
2–Just Steel, 119, c, 3, Justify–Irish Lights (Aus), by Fastnet Rock
(Aus). ($500,000 Ylg '22 KEESEP). O-BC Stables, LLC;
B-Summerhill Farm (KY); T-D. Wayne Lukas. $54,000.
3–Informed Patriot, 117, c, 3, Hard Spun–Yawkey Way, by
Grand Slam. ($90,000 Ylg '22 KEESEP). O-J. Kirk and Judy
Robison; B-Gainesway Thoroughbreds LTD & Whisper Hill Farm
(KY); T-Steven M. Asmussen. $27,000.
Margins: 2HF, NK, NK. Odds: 1.70, 4.50, 10.40.
Also Ran: Gettysburg Address, Mystik Dan, Lagynos, Mo Winning, Chaperone, Fidget.

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