Week of August 19, 2013
By Valerie Grash, Hello Race Fans Contributing Editor

It was a weekend to remember for owners Kenneth & Sarah Ramsey as homebred sons of their own Kitten’s Joy repeatedly lit up the toteboard.

It began at Arlington Park when one-time Grade 3 runner-up Coalport ($5.00 win) took down an optional claiming allowance race with jockey Channing Hill aboard. In the first division of the Hatoof Stakes, the filly Bold Kitten ($7.00 place) was a gallant runner-up, but the best was yet to come as jockey Rosie Napravnik guided Admiral Kitten ($12.40 win) to victory in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes over 14-1 longshot Stormy Len (who Admiral Kitten had narrowly beaten in the Grade 3 American Derby) and favorite Jack Milton, winner of the Grade 3 Transylvania Stakes back in April who last-out ran a close-up third in the Grade 2 Virginia Derby. Just like in that aforementioned race, the much-ballyhooed Rydilluc once again found the 1 1/4 miles distance too much, running on-pace with front-running Golden Jason early on, but gave way as they entered the stretch, finishing a distant eleventh in the 13-horse field.

Two races later, the Ramseys made their way to the winner’s circle once again, this time via the disqualification of South African-bred The Apache, runner-up in the Grade 1 Dubai Duty Free on the Dubai World Cup undercard. Whether or not The Apache repeatedly bumped Real Solution, pushing him outward from the rail, because he was disturbed by the infield video screen as jockey Christophe Soumillon claimed, the interference was severe enough to cause the stewards to take him down and award the win to the Ramseys’ Pennsylvania homebred ($18.80 win). Interestingly, Real Solution began his career in Italy, but a lung problem requiring him to race on Lasix led to his return to the U.S. this year where he ran an outstanding third behind Point of Entry and Optimizer in the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap. In the Million, 24-1 Euro invader Side Glance was third, finishing just a half length in front of late-closing Finnegans Wake who, at 28-1, fleshed out a superfecta that paid $1,656.91 for a 10¢ wager. Defending champion Little Mike continued his post-Dubai losing ways, coming in sixth, while the post-time favorite Indy Point apparently hated the going, finishing dead last in the 13-horse field.

Although not owned or bred by the Ramseys, yet another son of Kitten’s Joy—Suntracer—ran a narrow second ($5.40 place) to Euro invader Dandino in the 1 11/16 miles non-graded American St. Leger. It was a mild consolation prize, though, as the Ramseys’ own Dark Cove was forced to scratch from the race due to a tendon issue. Last year’s American St. Leger runner-up Ioya Bigtime just hasn’t been himself since his runner-up performance in the Grade 2 Pan American at Gulfstream back in late March—this was his fourth straight race without a placing, as he faded in the stretch to finish sixth.

The other Arlington highlight on Saturday was the 1 3/16 miles Grade 1 Beverly D—and it wasn’t a lucky race for the Ramseys as their homebred Artemus Kitten went off as the longest shot in the field at 36-1—and ran to form, finishing eighth in the 9-horse field. Europeans ran 1-2, with last-out Irish Group 2 winner Dank winning impressively over Gifted Girl in 1:53.38, which was just a tick off the track record (1:53.20). The American favorite, Marketing Mix ran well, but offered no challenge when the top two ran by her in the stretch, and was even nosed out by Grade 3 Modesty victress Ausus for third. Last-out Grade 2 New York Handicap winner Starformer continued her erratic ways, finishing dead-last.

The Ramseys captured their third Grade 1 event of the day when Big Blue Kitten ($7.90 win) defeated Twilight Eclipse in the 1 1/2 miles Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational at Saratoga. His stablemate Stormy Lord did his job serving as a rabbit well, jumping out to the early lead and setting an honest pace. When it came time for his big late run, jockey Joe Bravo made sure Big Blue Kitten was there, and the pair enjoyed their second straight Grade 1 victory after taking down the United Nations Stakes most recently. French invader Nutello got up for third, but it was the Irish-bred Dylan Thomas filly Tannery who most impressed with her late-closing effort to finish fourth. The favorite Boisterous raced well mid-pack early, but faded to finish eighth in the 12-horse field. The oft-raced D. Wayne Lukas horse Optimizer was eased out of the race.

One race later, Princess of Sylmar seemingly locked up the champion 3-year-old filly title with a cracking win in the 1 1/4 miles Grade 1 Alabama Stakes. Jockey Javier Castellano patiently waited and timed his move on the Pennsylvania-bred perfectly as she whipped past the three rivals in front of her as they rounded the final turn, and cruised to victory. Fiftyshadesofhay came in second, followed by the early front-runner, Carnival Court, the lightly-raced half sister to champion Royal Delta. Whether we see Princess of Sylmar race again this year is in question, though, as her connections have expressed reservations about sending her to Santa Anita for the Breeders’ Cup and have a strong desire to continue racing her next year and beyond. If they do continue with her, the September 21 Grade 1 Cotillion at Parx or the September 28 Grade 1 Beldame Invitational at Belmont are likely choices.

At the Spa on Sunday, Grade 3 Virginia Oaks winner Nellie Cashman looked to have captured the grassy 1 1/8 miles Grade 2 Lake Placid Stakes by a nose over Caroline Thomas, but under the whip, the 20-1 longshot drifted out in the stretch, impeding third-place finisher Watsdachances in the blanket finish. After an inquiry, the stewards disqualified Nellie Cashman from first to third, moving Caroline Thomas into the winner’s circle for trainer Barclay Tagg and jockey Rosie Napravnik. It was the first stakes win for the well-bred Giant’s Causeway filly whose Grade 1-winning dam Bit of Whimsy was also campaigned by Tagg.

The weekend’s only other Grade 1 event—the 1 1/8 miles Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks—featured two Kitten’s Joy offspring: 3-year-old fillies Kitten’s Dumplings and Emotional Kitten. The post-time favorite, Grade 2 Lake George victress Kitten’s Dumplings could only manage to finish fourth, a length back of Grade 1 American Oaks runner-up Emotional Kitten. The winner was another New York shipper, Grade 2 Sands Point winner Discreet Marq, a somewhat surprising finish given that she had never raced beyond 1 1/16 miles before and her breeding suggested some stamina limitations (her mother was a Grade 3-placed sprinter). Also, given her previous races, it looked like runner-up Wishing Gate had similar issues, but the Indian Charlie filly had an ace in the hole: her dam Rich in Spirit twice won Grade 3 events at the 9-furlong distance, and once ran an unlucky close-up third in the 1 3/16 miles Grade 3 Modesty Handicap. Garrett Gomez guided her to a perfectly-timed ride, although it just wasn’t enough to catch the winner.

On Sunday at Del Mar, Gomez had better success with Reneesgotzip, as last year’s third-place finisher in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint made only her second race of the year a winning one, capturing the Grade 3 Rancho Bernardo Handicap in front-running fashion. Her final time for the 6 1/2 furlongs (1:14.48) also smashed the previous track record (1:14.93). Last year’s Rancho Bernardo winner Winding Way—a full sister to Kauai Katie—finished second, 4 1/4 lengths back of the winner. Sweet Marini was third.

The third leg of Canada’s Triple Crown—the 1 1/2 miles Breeders’ Stakes—was contested over the Woodbine turf on Sunday, in what turned out to be a quite formful race. Queen’s Plate runner-up Up With the Birds had already been Grade 3-placed on turf, running a narrow second in the Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland back in April. The only remaining question was could the son of Stormy Atlantic effectively traverse the 12-furlong distance, and the answer was an emphatic “yes” as he made a big move from mid-pack entering the final turn and outsprinted the rest of the field in the final furlong to win by nearly three lengths. Prince of Wales runner-up River Seven impressed in his first turf effort to run second, just a neck in front of Pyrite Mountain. The Street Sense colt Global Express went from a maiden winner to finishing a narrow fourth, a half length behind Pyrite Mountain.

Earlier on the Breeders’ Stakes card, 7-year-old Forte Dei Marmi chalked up his second consecutive win in the 1 1/4 miles Grade 2 Sky Classic Stakes—and set a new track record (2:00.12) in the effort. Just as he had in the Grade 2 Nijinsky Stakes, Hampstead Heath came roaring late to nip Grand Arch for the runner-up position. The sole filly entrant, Irish Mission, led for much of the race, but eventually gave way as they entered the stretch, still finishing a close-up fifth.

On Saturday, trainer Josie Carroll tested her talented 3-year-old filly Leigh Court on grass in the Grade 3 Ontario Colleen Stakes; the last-out winner of the Duchess Stakes had never tried turf, but given that her three-quarter sister Barracks Road had won this race in 2010, it was a no-brainer decision. The Grand Slam filly immediately went to the lead and never looked back, winning by a shrinking length over the Alywow Stakes winner Overheard; the favorite (and Grade 3 Selene winner) Coffee Clique was third.

At Northlands Park in Edmonton, Alberta on Saturday, the 84th running of the 1 3/8 miles Grade 3 Canadian Derby went to favorite Broadway Empire, a 3-year-old son of Empire Maker who began his career in March by destroying a maiden optional claiming field at Turf Paradise—by 16 1/2 lengths. After two races at Hollywood Park (including an out-of-the-money finish in the Grade 3 Affirmed Handicap), he transferred to Northlands where he dominated the Ky Alta Handicap, winning by over seven lengths. His half sister is Grade 2 Demoiselle runner-up Cinderella’s Dream, so there was always a lot of promise in this colt’s bloodline—it’s nice to see it come to fruition. Three lengths back of Broadway Empire, in second-place, came Reporting Star, a Circular Quay gelding who was a distant runner-up to Verrazano in the Grade 3 Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth before another runner-up finish in the grassy Jersey Derby there on July 20. Another notable American invader entered here: last-out Grade 3 Ohio Derby winner Title Contender who, while prominent early, couldn’t stay the distance and finished in eleventh-place. As if the Ohio Derby needed any further help to deserve a downgrade to non-graded status for next year…

Finally, speaking of invaders, trainer Wesley Ward continues to rain down winners in big European juvenile turf events. On Sunday, his 2-year-old Scat Daddy colt No Nay Never cruised to victory in the French Group 1 Prix Morny at Deauville. That makes three straight wins for the youngster who began his career with a sharp first-up maiden win over Keeneland’s Polytrack in late April, and followed that up with a stunning course-record win in the English Group 2 Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot. Will we see him in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf on November 2?

Keep up with all the racing commentary and news at Raceday 360 Wire!

Last Week’s Races

2013 Alabama Stakes Replay
Princess of Sylmar continues her impressive string of wins.

Video courtesy of Breeders’ Cup

2013 Sword Dancer Invitational Replay
Big Blue Kitten gets it done in the final strides.

Video courtesy of NYRA

2013 Secretariat Stakes Replay
Admiral Kitten runs down longshot Stormy Len.

Video courtesy of Partymanners

2013 Beverly D Stakes Replay
Dank smokes her rivals.

Video courtesy of Breeders’ Cup

2013 Arlinginton Million Replay
Real Solution wins after the DQ of The Apache.

Video courtesy of Breeders’ Cup

2013 Del Mar Oaks Replay
Discreet Marq ships in to win.

Video courtesy of Del Mar

2013 Lake Placid Stakes Replay
Carline Thomas inherits the win after Nellie Cashman is DQed.

Video courtesy of Partymanners

2013 Phillips H. Iselin Stakes Replay
Last Gunfighter grinds down San Pablo.

Video courtesy of Partymanners

2013 Longacres Mile Replay
Herbie D. takes them all the way.

Video courtesy of Emerald Downs

2013 Breeders’ Stakes Replay
Up With the Birds with an emphatic win.

Video courtesy of Woodbine

2013 Prix Morny Replay
No Nay Never, “three starts, three countries, three wins!”

Download Brisnet.com Results Charts
2013 Alabama Stakes Chart
2013 Arlington Million Chart
2013 Beverly D Stakes Chart
2013 Del Mar Oaks Chart
2013 Lake Placid Stakes Chart
2013 Longacres Mile Chart
2013 Phillip H. Iselin Stakes Chart
2013 Rancho Bernardo Handicap Chart
2013 Secretariat Stakes Chart
2013 Sword Dancer Invitational Chart

Check probable starters at Horse Racing Nation’s Stakes Tracker

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