Catholic Boy Re-Rallies to Take Down Analyze It Again in the Belmont Derby

Saturday, July 7, 2018

When last they met in the GIII Pennine Ridge S. June 2, ‘TDN Rising Star‘ Analyze It (Point of Entry) looked to have the race sewn up in the waning strides, only to have Catholic Boy (More Than Ready) surge late to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. In a near carbon copy of that result in Saturday’s GI Belmont Derby Invitational, Analyze It appeared to have the race won when surging clear of his nemesis with less than a furlong to race in the $1.2-million event, but he hopped off leads late and Catholic Boy–forced to rally up the rail this time around–boxed on tenaciously to drop his head on the wire first.

“It was a hell of a horse race,” said trainer Jonathan Thomas. “He really has an awful lot of heart. I didn’t expect him to fight back this time. I thought we were going to finish a really good second, [but] somehow he got it done. He’s always been a real generous training horse. You never know how they will respond in that scenario because we never put them in that situation in the mornings. Between his heart and Javier’s ride, what can you say?”

It was a maiden top-level success for former Todd Pletcher assistant Thomas.

“It’s the pinnacle. It’s one of those dreams you don’t really think about until it happens,” he said. “I’m happier for [Catholic Boy] because he’s a deserving Grade I winner. He deserves it. I’m like a proud parent.”

Analyze It won the break and took the Derby field toward the first turn with Catholic Boy just off his flank, and though he had every chance to lead on a pace that was anything but demanding, Jose Ortiz elected to allow Catholic Boy to cross and clear following an opening couple of furlongs in :24.47. Hunting Horn (Ire) (Camelot {GB}), last out winner of the G3 Hampton Court S. at Royal Ascot, monitored the proceedings from third and the trio more or less dominated the Derby throughout. The internal fractions remained soft–Catholic Boy clocked :48.91 on the back straightaway–but Analyze It remained glued to his outside and began to inch ever closer with three furlongs to travel. The latter appeared to be doing the better of the work as he rolled up outside to poke a head in front turning for home and was a half-length to the good entering the final furlong. But just as he did in the Pennine Ridge, Analyze It refused to put his rival away and Catholic Boy managed to pull the rabbit out of the hat once more.

“He [Catholic Boy] gives me a lot of confidence because we decided to take the lead and dictate the pace, and I think it was the key to win the race,” Castellano said. “I’m very fortunate it went my way. I’m very respectful of Analyze It, he’s a great horse with a great trainer. Someone had to win the race, and I’m lucky to be in the spot I am.”


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