08/29/2008 11:00PM

Catlaunch can leave the rest behind


Catlaunch stands out in a field of six Ohio-bred 3-year-olds and upward in the $75,000 Governor's Buckeye Cup at 1 1/4 miles, the third of a trio of stakes presented at Thistledown over the Labor Day weekend.

Catlaunch, an ultra-consistent 7-year-old Noble Cat gelding, has posted a 24-10-7 record, including multiple stake wins, in 60 starts, for earnings of $520,263. He has won stakes sprinting and at up to 10 furlongs. He is the defending champ in this race and has won 4 of his 5 starts this year, 3 of which were stakes.

In his last race, on July 12, he won the 1 1/8-mile George Lewis Memorial at Thistledown, beating his top rival in today's race, Smarmy.

Catlaunch's forte is speed, and he will have little difficulty setting the pace today, and should wire his field. Catlaunch is owned by Scioto Farm, trained by Ivan Vazquez, and will be ridden by Dean Sarvis.

Catlaunch also was entered in the Honey Jay for Sunday, but was expected to run Monday.

All starters will carry 122 pounds.

Smarmy is a hard-hitting 4-year-old Parents' Reward gelding who has won 2 of his 4 starts in 2008 and was third, beaten one length, to Catlaunch in the George Lewis Memorial. One of his wins came in the Ohio Endurance at Beulah Park last October going Monday's distance. He has the tactical speed to be well-placed will be a solid threat.

Smarmy, trained by Tim Hamm, will be ridden by Luis Antonio Gonzalez.

Of the others, Go Johnny Go appears to have the best chance of winning. He has finished second and third behind Catlaunch. Weldon Cloninger Jr. will ride for trainer Joe Poole.