Catalina Cruiser captures Grade II, $200,000 Pat O’Brien Stakes


Catalina Cruiser crushed his competition in the Grade II, $200,000 Pat O’Brien Stakes on Aug. 25 at Del Mar, winning by 7 1/4 lengths.

Battle of Midway - bred by local residents Pavla and Erik Nygaard - was making his first start since winning the 2017 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and was second-best, 2 1/4 lengths in front of Vorticity.

The undefeated Catalina Cruiser covered the 7 furlongs on the dirt in 1:22.13.

“He is something,” said his jockey, Drayden Van Dyke. “I said he was one of the best horses I’ve ever been on. He just might be the best. He’s a cruiser, for sure.”

Trainer John Sadler said right now the plan is to run Catalina Cruiser in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile in November at Churchill Downs in Kentucky, and possibly the Pegasus World Cup in Florida in January.

The 4-year-old chestnut colt is owned by Kosta and Pete Hronis of Delano, who also have TVG Pacific Classic winner Accelerate in their stable.

The day’s supporting race, the $100,000 Shared Belief Stakes, was won by Tatters to Riches, a $1 million purchase as a 2-year-old last year.

Other stakes winners at Del Mar during the past week include True Royalty (Grade III, $100,000 Torrey Pines Stakes), Dabster ($79,162 Harry F. Brubaker Stakes) and Shenandoah Queen ($77,700 Tranquility Lakes Stakes).

Next weekend will be Del Mar’s final one of the summer meet, which ends on Labor Day, Sept. 3. Among the featured events will be the Grade I Del Mar Debutante and Grade I Del Mar Futurity for 2-year-olds, and concerts by Slightly Stoopid on Sept. 1 and Ice Cube on Sept. 2.