DEL MAR, CA – Woodford Racing’s Catapult lived up to his name impressively on Sunday, launching quickly down the lane to neck out his first graded stakes score in the Grade 2, $250,000 Eddie Read Stakes at Del Mar.
Breaking cleanly from post 5 under Drayden Van Dyke, Catapult settled in mid-pack early while Sharp Samurai raced inside of Prime Attraction through opening splits of :23.75, :47.65, and 1:11.00. Hitting the top of the stretch still in seventh, Van Dyke tipped Catapult out and he began commencing a furious rally towards the front. In the final furlong, the John Sadler trainee cut sharply through the open space in front of him and was able to get up in the shadow of the wire in a final time of 1:46.07 for the 9-furlong turf event.
“No special instructions from John,” Van Dyke said. “I could see there wasn’t a whole lot of speed in the race, so I wanted to stay up relatively close. He was in a nice rhythm; moving just like I wanted him to. Then when I wheeled him out, he went. He catapulted me.”
The 3-1 favorite Sharp Samurai and Prime Attraction remained heads apart throughout, including at the wire, with the former barely outfinishing the latter. Bowies Hero was in tight late after running hard through the middle of the track and finished fourth, while Multiplier headed Next Shares for fifth. True Valour, Fashion Business, Itsinthepost, and the defending champion Hunt completed the order of finish.
Catapult’s win came in his fifth career graded stakes attempt and improved his overall record to 14-5-3-1. The 5-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy increased is career bankroll to $501,384.
“This is a nice horse,” Sadler said. “He comes from the east coast, where he had good form last year. The owners gave him a little time off at the end of last year and decided to try him here in California. There’s a lot of good grass opportunities back east, but I think they wanted to send one out here. I had him for at least 60 days before we ran him (for the first time in nine months on June 17), and in that race, he was a little rank, but he ran a good race against (Sharp Samurai) and was closing well. We thought he’d run a good race today and he did.”
Catapult returned $44 to win, $14.40 to place, and $8.60 to show. Sharp Samurai brought back $4.60 to place and $4 to show, while Prime Attraction paid $6.60 to show.