Kentucky Derby

Kentucky Derby preps: Catching Freedom wins Louisiana Derby; Endlessly takes Jeff Ruby

Kentucky Derby preps: Catching Freedom wins Louisiana Derby; Endlessly takes Jeff Ruby

Catching Freedom rallied from last place to capture Saturday’s $1 million, Grade 2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds.

Ridden by Flavien Prat and trained by Louisville’s Brad Cox, Catching Freedom covered the 1 3/16 miles in 1:56.16 and paid $8.60 to win.

Catching Freedom earned 100 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby, clinching a spot in the May 4 Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs.

“Just keep him happy and healthy,” said Cox, who planned to ship Catching Freedom back to Churchill Downs on Sunday. “He broke his maiden there, so he knows the place. Hopefully he has a great six weeks and a great first Saturday in May.”

Honor Marie finished a length back in second place and earned 50 qualifying points toward the Kentucky Derby.

Track Phantom, trained by Steve Asmussen, set fractions of 23.49 seconds for the quarter-mile, 48.33 seconds for the half-mile and 1:12.54 for three-quarters but faded to fourth place in the final strides.

A son of Constitution, Catching Freedom improved to 3-0-1 in five career starts. He entered off a third-place finish in the Grade 2 Risen Star on Feb. 17 at Fair Grounds.

Endlessly wins Jeff Ruby

Endlessly backed up his 7-5 favoritism and clinched a Kentucky Derby spot with a 4-length victory in the $700,000, Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park.

Trained by Michael McCarthy and ridden by Umberto Rispoli, Endlessly covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.15 and paid $4.88 to win.

Endlessly earned 100 qualifying points toward the Kentucky Derby. Runner-up West Saratoga earned 50 points.

Lucky Jeremy set fractions of 23.33 seconds for the quarter-mile, 48.57 seconds for the half-mile and 1:13.00 for three-quarters before fading to fifth place.

A son of Oscar Performance, Endlessly has now won five of six career starts. He entered off a victory in the El Camino Real Derby on Feb. 10 at Golden Gate.

More horse racing: Which horses are in and on bubble for Kentucky Derby field?

Jason Frakes: 502-582-4046; jfrakes@courier-journal.com. Follow on X @KentuckyDerbyCJ.

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Kentucky Derby preps: Catching Freedom, Endlessly make Derby field

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