The Year’s Best Races, #9: Catholic Boy Crushes Them in the Travers

Catholic Boy, with Javier Castellano aboard, took command late and drew clear to a four-length win in the 2018 Travers Stakes on Aug. 25. (Eclipse Sportswire)

After going 37 years without a Triple Crown, horse racing celebrated its second Triple Crown winner in just the last four years as Justify joined the ranks of 2015 champion American Pharoah when he captured the 2018 Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Not only was 2018 the year of Justify, it’ll also be remembered for dozens of heart-stopping races, thrilling battles, and longshot winners for the ages. We’re looking back on the year by counting down the top 15 races, one race a day, until the calendar turns to 2019.

*Note that our list of best races for 2018 only includes races run in North America.

To view the other top 15 races, click here and scroll down.

#9: Catholic Boy Crushes Them in the Travers

He’d already proven himself on the turf and, at Saratoga, the stage was set for Catholic Boy to make his statement on the dirt. He did just that and earned an instant berth into the Breeders’ Cup Classic when he won the “Win and You’re In” Runhappy Travers Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets. The race, which was worth $1.25 million, attracted a large field including Derby trail contenders Mendelssohn, Good Magic, Vino Rosso, Bravazo, Tenfold and Gronkowski. After chasing an extremely hot pace set by Mendelssohn, Catholic Boy drew off with ease and threw his name into the conversation for Horse of the Year.

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