ELMONT, N.Y. – Catholic Boy, the Travers winner, worked three furlongs in 39 seconds Sunday morning at Belmont Park as he begins to ratchet up preparations for the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic on Nov. 3 at Churchill Downs.
Exercise rider Tracey Morgan kept Catholic Boy several paths off the rail and had the colt under a snug old as he cruised around the main track shortly after it opened following a midmorning renovation break. Catholic Boy galloped out a half-mile in 51.76 seconds.
Trainer Jonathan Thomas said it was by design that Catholic Boy worked several paths off the rail, saying he felt it “was the better part of the racetrack.”
Thomas said he hadn’t planned on breezing Catholic Boy until next week, but the horse was wanting to do something. Catholic Boy did seem a bit excited as he kicked his back legs out a couple of times while backing up for the work.
Thomas decided to change plans and ship Catholic Boy from Saratoga to Belmont to do the bulk of his training as opposed to going to Churchill Downs a month before the Breeders’ Cup. Thomas said Catholic Boy would likely have three or four more breezes before shipping to Churchill, where he will have one or two works over the main track.
“He trained really well here leading up to the Pennine Ridge,” Thomas said, referring to a turf race he won here in June. “The horse goes out in the round pen for 30 minutes and grazes for an hour, and those are things we can do at Saratoga or Belmont that we can’t necessarily do at Churchill.”
Thomas added that he is more confident training Catholic Boy at Belmont, calling it “the best place on earth to train.”
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.
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