Gulfstream Today 12.8.12
Lead: Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s 4-year-old Big Blue Kitten made a dramatic return to competition Saturday at Gulfstream Park, scoring a hard-fought head victory in the fifth race under jockey Javier Castellano.
The race marked his first start since a trip to England to run in the prestigious Princes of Wales Stakes (G1) on June 20 at the Royal Ascot meet.
The Kentucky homebred by the Ramseys’ prolific home stallion Kitten’s Joy stalked from third up the backstretch behind a slow pace in Saturday’s $60,500 optional/allowance test run at one mile on turf, took command in mid-stretch, and held off a furious bid by Live Oak Plantation’s Za Approval to win.
Robert Liebner’s Bad Debt finished third, 1 ¼ lengths behind Za Approval second in the stakes-quality field of eight field. Big Blue Kitten paid $7.40 for $2 to win as the second choice and was timed in 1:37:69 over the ‘firm’ course.
“It was a big race for his comeback,” said trainer Chad Brown. “It was a tough field, but the best spot we could find for him. He came back from the trip to England really knocked out. I’m grateful to Mr. Ramsey for sending him back to me and we’ll talk about his next start, maybe the ($100,000) Ft. Lauderdale (G3 on Jan. 12).”
Big Blue Kitten made the first two starts of his career at Gulfstream in early 2011, breaking his maiden in March for a $35,000 claiming tag and no takers. He went on to win his next four starts, including the Hall of Fames Stakes (G2) at Saratoga in August. In two starts here last winter he finished third in a turf allowance and third in the Gulfstream Turf Handicap (G3) in February.
Big Blue Kitten got his final tune-up before the trip to England finishing second behind Wise Dan in the Ben Ali Stakes (G2) run on Polytrack at Keeneland in April. In the only out-of-the-money finish of his career, he checked in 10th of 11 in a world-class field in the Prince of Wales Stakes (G1) at Ascot, a race won by So You Think. Big Blue Kitten was in the care of trainer Sir Michael Stoute for his trip to England.
Horsemen of the Day: Jockeys Jose Lezcano, Javier Castellano and Joel Rosario each won two races on the Saturday card while trainer Mark Casse sent out two winners. Rosario continues his fast start at the session with 10 victories in the first six days.
Work of the Day: Gary and Cecil Barber’s 3-year-old gelding Delegation, third last out in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (G1) at Santa Anita on Nov. 3, drilled a ‘bullet’ five furlongs in 59 2/5 Saturday morning at Palm Meadows. Trained by Mark Casse, the son of Speightstown is expected to be among the favorites in the $100,000 Harlan’s Holiday Stakes to be run at 1 1/16 miles next Sun., Dec. 16.
Rainbow 6 Carryover: $22,147.97.