06/15/2011 4:04PM

River Downs: Catlaunch wins 21st career stakes at age 10

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Catlaunch won the $50,000 Gendelman last Saturday for the third straight year at River Downs. It was also the third straight year that the mile and a sixteenth event was taken off the turf course and run over the main track.

The Gendelman was the 21st stakes victory for the now 10-year-old Catlaunch, who has now won 37 of 86 starts and earned $983,000.
Trainer Ivan Vazquez said the old gelding’s future is up to him.

“He makes me look good, he is such an easy horse to train.,” Vazquez said. “Right now, we have no goals for him, he has achieved everything you can ask of a horse, whatever he wants to do is up to him.”

Catlaunch came back “good” from the Gendelman and Vazquez is planning to run Catlaunch in the George Lewis at Thistledown on July 16.
“It has been changed to accredited-breds and it is a good spot for him, going a mile and a sixteenth,” Vazquez said.

* River Downs ontrack handle is up, way up, from last year.

Through the first 23 days of racing last season, River Downs handled $1,190,763 ontrack. Through the same 23 days this season, $1,479,620 has been handled, an increase of 24 percent. Average ontrack handle has increased from $51,772 to $64,331.

There were only four days all of last season that River Downs handled more than $600,000 from all sources, including incoming simulcasts, ontrack. There have already been three such days this year.

The marketing budget at River Downs was nonexistent last season, but over $250,000 has been spent this season by the track’s new owner, Pinnacle Entertainment.