It was the 19th stakes victory for Ohio-bred Catlaunch, which left River Downs officials speculating whether that’s a national record. All 19 stakes were for Ohio-registered runners.
“I wish every owner who gets involved in the game could feel what I feel now,” Fields told track officials after the race. “(Trainer) Ivan (Vazquez) downplays his role in this horse’s success. Let’s face it, he has been with this horse for eight years and we’ve almost won $1 million. Somebody has to take the credit.”
Catlaunch, who has earned $983,944 and has been named Ohio Horse of the Year on several occasions, took command early in the off-the-turf 1 1/16-mile Gendelman Memorial. He had a six-length lead after six furlongs, drifted out badly in the stretch, but straightened enough to hold off Allsarott, who rallied along the rail.
“Into the stretch he switched leads just right and then slowly drifted out,” jockey Luis Gonzalez said. “I just kept riding, and as long as he kept running I didn't care where he finished—as long as it was in front. He’s the best horse I’ve ridden in 25 years.”
Catlaunch, by Noble Cat out of the Relaunch mare Skilaunch, went off a slight favorite and paid $8 to win in a 13-horse field. He has raced 86 times with 37 wins, 17 seconds, and nine thirds.