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Edited Gulfstream Staff Release – Tami Bobo, Julie Davies and George Isaacs’ Catalytic is slated for a return to action in Friday’s $95,000 Carry Back at Gulfstream Park, and trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. is looking for a big effort following an off-the-board finish in the May 4 Kentucky Derby (G1).

            “I think we can expect something good,” Joseph said. “That’s what we’ve seen in the morning. Hopefully, he shows that in the afternoon.”

            The Carry Back, a seven-furlong sprint for 3-year-olds, kicks off a weekend of stakes action at Gulfstream Park that will include the $120,000 Smile Sprint Saturday and the $100,000 Soldier’s Dancer Sunday.

           Catalytic had earned his way into the Derby field by finishing a distant second behind Fierceness in the $1 million Curlin Florida Derby (G1) March 30 at Gulfstream Park.

The son of Catalina Cruiser was making only his third career start in the Curlin Florida Derby after scoring a 5 ¾-length debut victory in his only start last year and finishing a close second in a March 2 optional claiming allowance at Tampa Bay Downs with a late stretch surge.

“He trained promising before his first race, but obviously they have to got out and do it. He won well, and then he had a couple of issues we had to deal with. He got sick and he had an issue we had to stop on,” Joseph said. “We came back and got a race into him and then he ran well in the Florida Derby.”

In the Curlin Florida Derby, Catalytic was always the closest horse in pursuit of a front-running Fierceness, who would break the record for the largest margin of victory in Gulfstream’s marquee Triple Crown prep by scoring by 13 ½ lengths. Despite his early efforts to keep up with Fierceness and racing wide, Catalytic still finished 2 ½ lengths clear of third-place finisher Grand Mo the First.

“We were happy that he earned the points to get into the Derby. That was special for the connections,” Joseph said. “He got beat 13 ½ lengths, so that doesn’t make you feel too happy, but on that day, we were overjoyed because, it being his third run, he qualified for the Derby”

The Curlin Florida Derby runner-up, who will by ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, has been installed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite in a field of eight.

“I think he’s a better horse now – that’s what we’ve seen in his training,” Joseph said. “Hopefully, that carries over to the afternoon. If it does, I think he’ll be very tough.”

Joseph will also be represented in the Carry Back by C2 Racing Stable LLC and All in Line Stables LLC’s General Ledger, who is rated second on the morning line at 3-1.

“He’s trained well. He’s a horse that has been spotty. He runs some decent races and then he hasn’t,” Joseph said.

General Ledger captured a seven-furlong optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream two starts back before the son of Summer Front faded to sixth in the 1 1/16-mile Texas Derby at Lone Star Park.

“He went two turns for the first time. That was obviously a question mark. Now, he’s back at seven-eighths. He won here two back with a good number,” Joseph said. “If he were to duplicate that number, he would make himself very competitive.

Leading rider Edgard Zayas has the call on General Ledger.

Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Daniel Walters, Dennis Smith and trainer Rohan Crichton’s Real Macho, who finished off the board in the Curlin Florida Derby after a fourth-place finish in the Fountain of Youth (G2), will wear blinkers for the first time in the Carry Back.

The son of Mucho Macho Man finished fourth following a less-than-ideal trip in the Sir Barton on the May 18 Preakness Stakes (G1) undercard at Pimlico last time out. Emisael Jaramillo is scheduled to ride Real Macho for the first time Friday.

Robert Roffey Jr.’s Saybrook enters the Carry Back off a sharp 2 ½-length triumph in a seven-furlong optional claiming allowance at Gulfstream May 27.  The homebred son of Jess’s Dream will be ridden by Miguel Vasquez.

Stonehedge Farm’s Celtic Pride, a Michael Yates-trained son of St. Patrick’s Day, and Just for Fun Stable Inc.’s Roar Ready, a Ruben Sierra-trained son of Do the Roar, will return in the Carry Back after finishing second and third, respectively, behind Saybrook May 27.

Trainer Michael Laurato’s El Principito and Jacks or Better Farm Inc’s Etendre, who finished first and second, respectively, in a June 16 optional claiming allowance, round out the Carry Back field.

Note: Turf racing is scheduled to return on Friday’s nine-race program at Gulfstream Park.

Trainer Joe Catanese III’s Trumpets has been installed as the 7-5 morning-line favorite in a talented field of seven 3-year-old fillies assembled for Friday’s Race 7, a five-furlong turf dash. The daughter of Neolithic has finished first or second in her four career starts.

A $25,000 claiming race on turf that drew a field of 12 fillies and mares will kick off Friday’s card.

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