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Catholic Boy Has Schedule Mapped Out, Stidham Strong at MP
Thomas Solidifies Catholic Boy’s Plans
Catholic Boy a Grade 1 winner on turf and dirt, breezed a half-mile on Sunday morning in 49.48 seconds at Belmont Park, where he’s likely to make his next start.
After the 4-year-old son of More Than Ready won his 2019 debut in the Grade 2 Dixie on May 18 at Pimlico Race Course, trainer Jonathan Thomas is targeting the Grade 2, $700,000 Suburban on July 6.
“There was an incident with a loose horse that came down the lane during his work, so [jockey] Javier [Castellano] had to kind of back off the throttle a bit, but it didn’t bother our schedule,” Thomas told horseracingnation.com.
Given Catholic Boy’s versatility — he counts the Belmont Derby (G1) on turf and Travers Stakes (G1) on dirt among his victories — Thomas has plenty of options with the seven-time winner of 11 career starts. Thomas said races under consideration for Catholic Boy include the Aug. 3 Whitney (G3) at Saratoga, the Aug. 10 Arlington Million (G1) and the Aug. 31 Woodward (G1).
“The Suburban still has a big circle around it,” Thomas said. “We’re taking it race by race. Just kind of see where he takes us. The Suburban would answer some of these questions. There are some big targets this summer that we would want to be a part of.”
Stidham Live in Honey Bee at Monmouth
Trainer Michael Stidham has always felt that it was just a matter of time and experience before Missmizz started living up to her potential. That time appears to be getting closer, with Saturday’s $75,000 Honey Bee Stakes at Monmouth Park the latest test for the 3-year-old filly.
“I think she’s improving as she matures a little bit,” Stidham told Monmouth publicity. “I always felt she was going to be a little better later in her 3-year-old year and as a 4-year-old. I don’t think we’ve seen the best of her yet.”
Stidham hopes the Honey Bee Stakes, at 5½ furlongs on the grass for 3-year-old fillies, will be the breakthrough he has been waiting for with the daughter of Mizzen Mast-Silimiss by Dansili. But he knows it won’t be an easy task.
The Honey Bee, which headlines a 13-race Saturday card, has drawn a field of 12, including two alternates. It features a who’s who of top-flight turf trainers, too. Jason Servis has three horses entered, Mark Casse has one, Graham Motion has one, and Todd Pletcher has one.
“I think 5½ furlongs will suit her well, but I thought it came up a pretty tough spot – although she has run well against some pretty nice horses already,” Stidham said. “So I think we’re very live in this spot.”
Missmizz, who has been on the turf for all five career starts, won her first two starts despite getting loose in the post parade in her debut and then ducking in late in her second start. Three straight stakes races followed, with Missmizz finishing second in a stakes race at Woodbine before a fifth-place finish, when she was beaten just 3½ lengths, in the Grade 3 Soaring Softly Stakes at Belmont on May 18.
Stidham, off to a solid start at Monmouth Park with a 3-3-3 line from 13 starters, has not been bashful about taking Missmizz wherever he needs to for a race. In five career races, she has already raced at four different racetracks. Saturday will mark her fourth straight stakes race too.