08/08/2006 11:00PM

River Downs track report


Catlaunch, who won two stakes earlier this year, returned to his best form in winning Saturday's featured $19,200 open allowance at a mile and 70 yards by nine lengths. The win was his fifth of the season, and his first since taking the six-furlong Rowland Memorial at Thistledown in June. Catlaunch also won the six-furlong Babst Memorial at Beulah in May, equalling his career-best Beyer figure of 98.

Victories in the Babst and Rowland would normally give Catlaunch a leg-up on his rivals for Ohio champion sprinter honors, though the multiple graded stakes winner Too Much Bling would seemingly have the edge in that division. There is precedent, however, for Ohio-breds that achieve success on a national level to be given special recognition awards at the annual Ohio Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners awards ceremony, with divisional honors instead going to a runner campaigned primarily in Ohio. Previous Ohio-breds that were honored in such a fashion were Harlan's Holiday and Phantom on Tour.

* Spring Tribute seemingly has no equal in marathon starter allowances on dirt at River Downs. The 4-year-old son of Gold Tribute is now 6 for 6 over the main track after winning a 1 5/8-mile starter allowance last Sunday, a victory preceded by starter allowance wins at a mile and 70 yards, 1 1/8 miles, and 1 1/4 miles. The combined margin of victory in Spring Tribute's five wins during the meet has been 28 1/4 lengths.

As impressive as Spring Tribute has been in his four starter allowance wins, he did not seriously threaten the track records for those distances, which are among the oldest in existence in the country. The mile and 70-yard record at River dates to 1945, the 1 1/8-mile record to 1925, the 1 1/4-mile record to 1926, and the 1 5/8-mile record to 1934.

Spring Tribute's win was also the second of three straight on the card for apprentice jockey Brandon Minnock.

* Go Lionel Go made his first start for owner Billy Hays and trainer Joe Woodard a winning one in Tuesday's featured $15,000 open allowance at five furlongs on the turf. Claimed for $50,000 in his last start at Churchill Downs, a race he won, Go Lionel Go scored impressively Tuesday by 2 1/4 lengths, covering the distance in 56.40 seconds and earning a 93 Beyer figure.