09/08/2011 4:47PM

Thistledown: Catlaunch looks to rebound in Governor's Buckeye Cup


Catlaunch, winner of four stakes this year, will attempt to rebound from a rare subpar performance when he tops a field of 10 Ohio-breds in Satuday’s $50,000 Governor’s Buckeye Cup at Thistledown.

The 10-year-old Catlaunch returns from a fifth-place finish in the Honey Jay stakes on Aug. 20. He has won the 1 1/4-mile Buckeye twice and finished second twice, and carries a record of 4-2-1 from 8 starts at this distance. Catlaunch won this race at 6 the first time he tried it and followed up with seconds the next two years, beaten by three quarters of a length in 2008 and a head in 2009.  He took the title back last year, winning in hand by two lengths under the jockey who will ride again Saturday, Luis Gonzalez.

The main opposition could come from Allsarott and Raise the Reward. Allsarott finished second going six furlongs in the Honey Jay, finishing seven lengths ahead of Catlaunch, but is a proven router. He has finished a close second to Catlaunch twice this year, has finished second twice from three starts at this distance, and has shown ability to compete with open company at Fair Grounds and Churchill Downs. He has earnings of $254,670 and will be ridden by Azarl De Leon.

Raise the Reward has finished second and third from three starts at this distance, all for trainer Timothy Hamm. He returns from a second-place finish against optional claiming company on Aug. 20 and before that finished third to Catlaunch in the George Lewis Memorial.