Catholic Boy breezed an energetic four furlongs in 48.46 seconds Sunday morning at Gulfstream Park in preparation for a start inSaturday’s Xpressbet.com Florida Derby.
The Jonathan Thomas-trained son of More Than Ready worked in company with an unraced maiden stable mate before galloping out five furlongs reportedly impressively under exercise rider Tracey Price. Catholic Boy settled into stride on the backstretch before pulling alongside his workmate on the turn and quickly drawing clear through the stretch with little encouragement from his rider.
“We were looking for something for him to get into a good rhythm and let the work open up timewise. They went in 24-and-change, and then finished up the last quarter in 24 and galloped out the five-eighths nicely in 1:01-and-change,” Thomas said. “Then, I wanted to be careful and shut it down, because the horse tends to gallop out pretty strong. You have to be a little careful because a half-mile work could quickly turn into a three-quarter mile work with him. It looked like he got over the track really great. I like the way he sat with the other horse and pulled away when asked to."
Catholic Boy’s breeze capped a series of four works (three of them at Bridlewood Farm) since his 2018 debut, a second-place finish in the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.
“You’re happy to get the final work done,” Thomas said. “You’re even happier the next day when your horse has cleaned up his feed tub, pulls out and jogs up well. That’s 80 percent of the job done right there.”
The draw for the 67th running of the Florida Derby will be at 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at Frankey’s Sports Bar.
Edited Gulfstream Park release