Catching Freedom goes from last-to-first in $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2)

Catching Freedom wins the $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2) - Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr.
Catching Freedom wins the $1 million Louisiana Derby (G2) - Hodges Photography / Lou Hodges, Jr.

Catching Freedom, a 3-year-old son of Constitution, earned a trip to this year’s Kentucky Derby (G1) with an incredible stretch run in Saturday’s Louisiana Derby (G2), coming from last with three furlongs to run to win the 1 3/16-mile race by a length over Honor Marie.

The victory earned Catching Freedom 100 points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby series, upping his overall total to 125, which currently tops the list.

After a bit of a tough trip resulted in a third-place finish in last month’s Risen Star S. (G2), Catching Freedom stayed clear of trouble on Saturday. He was content to drop back to last of 11 shortly after the break, with Track Phantom leading through six furlongs in 1:12.54. Midway on the final turn, Catching Freedom began to gain ground, and despite being seven-wide coming into the stretch, continued to pass horses in the middle of the track. He struck the front in the final furlong and sustained his run to the wire in 1:56.16 on a fast track.

“I didn’t know what to make of it early on, being so far back and with not much pace, but Flavien did a great job of letting him inch up,” said winning trainer Brad Cox. “He needed pretty much the entire stretch to get there. I am very proud of the effort. We’ll ship him up to Churchill; he broke his maiden there, so he knows the place. Hopefully, he can have a great six weeks and a big run the first Saturday in May.”

Winner of the Smarty Jones S. at Oaklawn on New Year’s Day, Catching Freedom is now 3-0-1 in five starts and has earned $877,350 for Albaugh Family Stables LLC, who purchased the bay colt for $575,000 out of the 2022 Keeneland September Yearling sale.

Bred by WinStar Farm, Catching Freedom is the 31st graded winner and one of 64 stakes winners for Constitution. The WinStar stallion finished 2023 as the leading Fifth-Crop sire by stakes winners and has already accounted for five stakes winners this year. He also accounted for the allowance winner Ambivalent and Muniz Memorial Classic (G2) third-place finisher Webslinger during Saturday’s card at Fair Grounds.