06/10/2009 11:00PM

Catlaunch looks to end skid in route

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J.J. Zamaiko
Catlaunch, winless in three sprints in 2009, will stretch out in Saturday's Gendelman Handicap.

Catlaunch looks to return to his winning ways in the $50,000 Sydney Gendelman Memorial Handicap at River Downs on Saturday. The 1 1/16-mile Gendelman is scheduled to be run on the turf course, but with rain in the area all week and not expected to end until Friday, the race will most likely be contested on the main track.

Trained by Ivan Vazquez, Catlaunch is without a victory this season, but all three starts have been in sprints.

"We have just had some bad racing luck in his starts this year," Vazquez said. "I expect him to run a big race. He is training well and back at the top of his game. It is easier for him to run long, he doesn't have to be pushed early. Although, he has won short and long."

The 8-year-old gelding won 7 of 9 races and Ohio horse of the year honors last season. Catlaunch is 0 for 5 on the turf and will have his chances greatly enhanced if the race is contested on the main track.

"I wouldn't be mad if it comes off the turf," Vazquez said. "I think he is a better dirt horse, but the way he is coming into this race he will be tough either way."

Hector Rosario Jr. will ride.

Pyrite Personal will be dangerous regardless of the surface of the race. The 5-year-old has won three races over turf, including two at River Downs, and three races over dirt. Trained by Miguel Feliciano, Pyrite Personal was disqualified from first place for bumping in the stretch of a race over the Tampa Bay Turf course April 11. He ran Beyer Speed Figures at or near 90 in four of his five Tampa turf races.

Pyrite Personal looks to have rounded into the form that he displayed in 2007, when he won the Cleveland Gold Cup and was named the Ohio champion 3-year-old.

Vernon Bush will ride for the first time.

The $50,000 Magic City Classic, for Alabama-breds, also will be contested Saturday. Guaranteed Duster will be looking to get his third victory of the year.