In his second start, Robert LaPenta's Catholic Boy posted a 12-1 upset, rallying from midpack to take the $150,000 With Anticipation Stakes (G3T) for 2-year-olds by one length Aug. 30 at Saratoga Race Course.
The colt's first graded victory made him the 175th black-type stakes winner for his sire, More Than Ready . Catholic Boy also gave trainer Jonathan Thomas his first black-type stakes win.
After being bumped and pinched between foes at the start, jockey Manny Franco positioned Catholic Boy on the rail sixth in the early going of the 1 1/16-mile With Anticipation, while Earth took the lead, clipping off fractions of :23.19, :47.02, and 1:11.28 through the first six furlongs. Catholic Boy saved ground and held his position in the far turn.
Heading into the stretch Earth gave way to Irish Territory, who led briefly. Catholic Boy overcame traffic trouble while tipping off the rail three-wide to run down the leader in deep stretch. His final time over the firm Mellon turf course was 1:40.94.
"I had a lot of horse under me and I was trying to find my way out," Franco said. "I had to wait a little longer than I wanted, but the hole opened, and I had a lot of horse left and we won."
Zayat Stables' Irish Territory stayed up for second, while West Point Thoroughbreds' Untamed Domain rallied to finish third. Donegal Racing's Seabhac closed to get fourth. Earth backed up to fifth, and the 5-2 betting favorite Evaluator was not a factor, finishing seventh.
Off at odds of 12-1, Catholic Boy returned $26.40, $14, and $8.20 across the board. Irish Territory paid $7.50 and $6.10, while Untamed Domain paid $4.20.
"I thought our draw (post 3) was super beneficial," Thomas said. "We were able to save ground. I thought Manny gave him a great ground-saving trip. I was hoping we could get up on the inside, but he had to tip out, and I thought Manny did everything great."
Catholic Boy is now two-for-two after breaking his maiden on debut by two lengths in a 7 1/2-furlong turf contest at Gulfstream Park July 20.
"He's screaming for distance. ... I'm impressed with him knowing he didn't get the cleanest trip and he negotiated some pockets and holes and overcame it," Thomas said. "Obviously, the goal would be to get to the Breeders' Cup from here with a possible start in the Pilgrim in between, but we'll see."
Bred in Kentucky by Fred Hertrich III and John Fielding, Catholic Boy is the third foal out of Bernardini mare Song of Bernadette. Catholic Boy's half brother by Super Saver will be offered at the Keeneland September yearling sale as Hip 2656 from the Taylor Made Sales consignment.