Even though Saturday’s GII Pat O’Brien S. at Del Mar was decimated by the scratches of the likes of champion sprinter Roy H (More Than Ready) and last-out GI Bing Crosby S. hero Ransom The Moon (Malibu Moon), it did not lose its star attraction, and Hronis Racing’s Catalina Cruiser (Union Rags) did not disappoint, as he remained perfect in four career appearances with a thoroughly dominating performance.

Drawn inside in the field of four, the blaze-faced chestnut was coddled along to hold his spot from the fence as the transplanted Threefiveindia (Street Hero) led from between horses and the comebacking ‘TDN Rising Star’ Battle of Midway stalked three deep. Given a bit of rein entering the turn, the $370,000 Keeneland September purchase kicked further in front off the home corner and was the better part of five lengths clear under the wire. Battle of Midway, last year’s GI Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile hero who was returned to the barn of Jerry Hollendorfer after proving subfertile at stud, was a bit slow into stride and stuck to his task as best as he could, but was no match for Catalina Cruiser, who has this year’s Dirt Mile as his long-term objective.

A big-figure debut winner at Santa Anita last October, Catalina Cruiser went missing and resumed with a 2 1/4-length allowance victory sprinting in Arcadia on Preakness Day May 19. Favored at 13-10 for his two-turn debut in the GII San Diego H. July 21, he dictated the pace and sprinted clear to score by nearly seven lengths, pairing up 107 Beyer Speed Figures.

Catalina Cruiser is bred on the Union Rags cross over A.P. Indy that is responsible for SW & MGSP No Dosing, GISP Patch and Saturday’s Shared Belief S. winner Tatters to Riches. Produced by a half-sister to SW & GSP Private Ryan (Quiet American), Catalina Cruiser is kin to the 2-year-old filly Royal Flag (Candy Ride {Arg}), who breezed a half-mile in :49.49 (28/79) Saturday at Belmont Park. Sea Gull produced a filly by War Front in 2017, was barren to that stallion for 2018 and was most recently bred to Candy Ride.

SOURCE: TDN 8/25/18

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