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Catman Claws to Victory in $150,000 Laurel Futurity

2-Year-old Breaks Maiden in 1 1/16-Mile Turf Stakes

BALTIMORE – Paradise Farms Corp. and David Staudacher’s Catman graduated in style Saturday at Pimlico Race Course, taking the lead nearing the wire and tenaciously holding on by a nose over Wootton Asset in the $150,000 Laurel Futurity.

The 94th running of the Laurel Futurity for 2-year-olds was eighth on a 12-race, all-stakes Preakness Day program featuring the $1 million Preakness (G1) and $250,000 Black-Eyed Susan (G2).

It was the second stakes win of the day for trainer Mike Maker, who previously saddled Evil Lyn to victory for the same owners in the $100,000 Hilltop. While it was Maker’s first Laurel Futurity win, jockey Daniel Centeno was previously first with Therapist in 2017.

Nautilus came from the far outside to forge an early lead ahead of Catman and Wootton Asset, who was pinched back out of the gate but recovered to take up a stalking spot in the clear on the outside. Nautilus ran a quarter in 25.33 seconds and a half in 51.23, with Pivotal Mission saving ground along the rail in fourth. Catman wrested the lead from Nautilus at the top of the stretch and set down for the wire, but Wootton Asset would not relent and raced alongside, only to come up short. 

Kidnapped was 1 ¼ lengths back in third, a half-length ahead of narrow favorite Pivotal Mission in fourth. It was the third runner-up finish of the day for trainer Graham Motion, who also finished second in the $100,000 Selima for 2-year-old fillies with Invincible Gal and the $150,000 Gallorette (G3) for females 3 and up on the grass with Varenka.

Catman, a bay son of champion runner and sire Kitten’s Joy, debuted running last of 10 July 18 at Saratoga. He was one of two horses left behind the gate when a mechanical malfunction caused it to prematurely open on opening day of the Kentucky Downs meet Sept. 7, resulting in a no-contest. Five days later, Catman closed to be second by a head in a one-mile maiden special weight.

The Futurity has a rich history dating back to 1921 inaugural winner Morvich, who would go on to win the 1922 Kentucky Derby. The Futurity has also been won by Triple Crown champions Affirmed, Citation and Secretariat along with Barbaro, Spectacular Bid, Tapit, In Reality, Honest Pleasure and Quadrangle.

From its 1921 debut through 1965, the Futurity was run at Pimlico before being moved to Laurel Park in 1966. Before this year, it returned to Pimlico in 1979 and 2004.

$150,000 Laurel Futurity Quotes

Winning Trainer Michael Maker (Catman) – “I was happy to see our horse get away and get into the race. He’s been a little bit on the lazy side, but after his last race the lights seemed to come on. [Jockey] Daniel [Centeno] put him in a great spot and got the job done.”

Winning Jockey Daniel Centeno (Catman) – “He ran really big today. Last time at Kentucky Downs, they went really fast early and he was far back and just got beat. Today, we got good position all the way. He was getting a little tired late but he held on. It was only his third time. He really tried hard today.”

Trainer Graham Motion (Wootton Asset, 2nd): “He broke OK but then he got shuffled back a little bit. He’s only been here three or four weeks, so I’m very pleased. He ran really well first time over [here in the U.S.].”