07/08/2010 12:00AM

Catlaunch brings win streak to Lewis


The durable 9-year-old gelding Catlaunch goes for his third straight stakes win when he matches strides over nine furlongs with nine Ohio-bred rivals in the $50,000 George Lewis Memorial at Thistledown.

Catlaunch has won 3 of his 5 races this year, including the Gendelman Memorial at River Downs and the Michael F. Rowland Memorial at Thistledown in his last two.

For a horse that came close to never being foaled, Catlaunch has put together an amazing record of 32-15-9 from 77 starts for earnings of $782,054.

According to trainer Ivan Vasquez, Catlaunch's dam, the unraced Relaunch mare Skilaunch, was nearly euthanized before being bred.

"She was a wobbler," Vasquez said of a disease that leaves horses with vertebrae that are not shaped correctly due to a narrowing of the spinal canal. "Vets said to put her down, but her owners said no and bred her."

Skilaunch repaid Scioto Farms owner Ron Fields by producing five foals, three of them stakes winners and the other two stakes placed.

Catlaunch is seeking back-to-back wins in the Lewis after winning last year's race in a romp.

Catlaunch is the highweight at 120 pounds. All of the other starters will carry 116. His regular rider, Ivan Gonzalez, will be aboard.

Catlaunch's main opposition should come from Pyrite Personal and Sneak a Cold Treat.

Pyrite Personal, a stakes-winning Bernstein gelding, finished second behind Catlauch in the Gendelman at River Downs in his last start on June 12. He has won and been third in two tries at this distance.

Sneak a Cold Treat was fourth in the Gendelman after chasing the pacesetting Catlauch until midstretch. He won the 10-furlong Ohio Endurance last year.