The resurrection of Catholic Boy continued Saturday with a romp in the 1 1/4 mile Travers Stakes.
The son of More than Ready battled with Mendelssohn, a surprising front-runner given his last two feeble starts. Wonder Gadot, the wonder filly from Canada, threatened early but dropped back in the pack. She would finish last.
Catholic Boy caught Mendelssohn around the turn, going wide but closing sharply toward Mendelssohn in the homestretch. Then it looked as if Mendelssohn was standing still; Catholic Boy found another gear and ran going away, by four lengths.
The two horses probably earned berths in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, while other horses may have missed their calling. Already on message boards there was talk of Catholic Boy being horse of the year – mostly among haters of Justify.
Saratoga proved again to be the graveyard of champions as Champion Two-Year-Old Good Magic, the favorite in the race, finished next to last. He went wide on the first turn but was never a factor in the race. Neither was Vino Rosso, who finished fifth, nor crowd favorite Gronkowski, who finished eighth and proved his second-place Belmont Stakes finish was a fluke.
Catholic Boy looked impressive early in his career, winning the Remsen Stakes and finishing second in the Sam F. Davis Stakes. But a series of setbacks in Derby prep races sent him to the turf, where he flourished. The Travers was his first return to the dirt.
Horse racing experts said there was a track bias on Saturday, with front-runners taking all but one of the races.