Catalytic – Kentucky Derby Context

April 16th, 2024

Catalytic earned a spot in the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby (G1) by finishing second in his stakes debut and third career start, the Florida Derby (G1). Most effective when able to race up close to the pace, Catalytic smartly captured his career debut at Gulfstream Park over 6 1/2 furlongs and entered the 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby off a runner-up effort in a six-furlong allowance at Tampa Bay Downs three weeks earlier. He followed Fierceness after the break in the Florida Derby, advancing wide into second on the first turn, and held his spot the rest of the way while losing significant ground to the winner in the stretch, as no runners made an impact from off the pace. Catalytic will face a serious class and distance check at Churchill Downs.

Owner: Owned by Tami Bobo, Julie Davies, and George Isaacs, Catalytic will be the second Kentucky Derby starter owned in partnership for Bobo, who finished fourth with Simplification in 2022, and the first appearance for Davies and Isaacs.

Trainer: Born and raised around horses in Barbados, Saffie Joseph Jr. became the youngest trainer to win the Barbados Triple Crown in 2009 and then began training in South Florida in 2011. Catalytic will be his third Kentucky Derby starter, with NY Traffic’s eighth in 2020 the best result. The 37-year-old third-generation horseman won the recently concluded Gulfstream Championship meet for the third consecutive year.

Jockey: If he retains the mount, Julien Leparoux will make his 15th start in the Kentucky Derby, a fourth aboard Classic Empire in 2017 the best result. The 40-year-old French native launched his professional riding career stateside in 2005, earning the Eclipse Award for leading apprentice in 2006, and Leparoux received the same award for leading jockey in 2009. 

Breeder/Sales: Bred in Kentucky by Fred Hertrich III, Catalytic passed through the sales ring twice, bringing $70,000 as a weanling and selling for $125,000 as a yearling at the 2022 Fasig-Tipton Saratoga August sale. He will be the first Kentucky Derby runner bred by Hertrich.

Sire: Catalytic is from the first crop of Catalina Cruiser, who went on to win five Grade 2 stakes from nine starts after making his career debut in the fall of his three-year-old season. Catalina Cruiser is by Union Rags, a top contender for the 2011 Kentucky Derby who finished seventh after a bad start. Union Rags rebounded by winning the Belmont (G1) in his final start.

Dam: Catalytic is the lone of stakes-placed runner from the mare One Show Only, a daughter of Distorted Humor, who is best known as the sire of 2003 Kentucky Derby winner Funny Cide. Distorted Humor has yet to make an impact upon the Triple Crown as a broodmare sire. Catalytic counts She’s a Winner as his third maternal dam, a daughter of A.P. Indy who produced Grade 1-winning millionaire and 2006 Kentucky Derby runner-up Bluegrass Cat, and this is the extended female family of 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Super Saver.

Top Brisnet Speed: 90
Top Brisnet Late Pace: 97