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Kitten’s Point Gets Dream Trip in Herecomesthebride
The bettors expected Graham Motion to saddle the winner of Saturday’s $150,000 Herecomesthebride Stakes (G3) at Gulfstream Park when they sent Tuttipaesi to post as their 8-5 favorite. Motion, indeed, got his picture taken following the running of the turf stakes for 3-year-old fillies, just not with Tuttipaesi.
Kitten’s Point, the other filly in Motion’s uncoupled entry, enjoyed a dream stalking trip under jockey Edgar Prado to prevail by a neck at 6-1, while Tuttipaesi experienced a wide trip from her outside post position and had to settle for third under jockey Alan Garcia.
“It kind of ran like a stayer’s race. I think the difference for the win between her and Tuttipaesi was that she had the trip and Tuttipaesi never got to cover up, never got to settle,” Motion said.
Although Motion expressed his reluctance to run two horses in his stable against each other, the 1 1/8 mile distance of the Herecomesthebride was too much to resist giving Kitten’s Point a chance to run.
“That’s why I ran her, because I thought she’d like the distance. I thought the mile and an eighth would be a big help to her,” Motion said. “Actually, Edgar just jumped off and said he can’t wait for her to go a little further.”
Kitten’s Point, who followed up an off-the-board finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) with a second-place allowance finish at Gulfstream on Feb. 2, broke alertly and assumed a close stalking position just outside of pacesetter I O Ireland. The pacesetter set leisurely fractions of :25.51, :51.13 and 1:15.86 for the first six furlongs under Jeffrey Sanchez as Kitten’s Point settled comfortably just outside. When asked by Prado, Kitten’s Point edged to the lead at the top of the stretch and continued on to the finish line to capture her first stakes win.
“I was a lucky passenger all the way around, but when I pressed the pedal you can see we came home running. She finished strong and galloped out real well,” Prado said. “I was very happy with her and hopefully she will come back good."
Others in the field didn’t experience such a dream trip. Second-choice Tokyo Time had traffic while trapped behind the pacesetter before getting bumped in the stretch while finishing strong under Javier Castellano. Tokyo Time finished second, 1 ¼ lengths ahead of third-place finisher Tuttipaesi, who was a victim of a slow pace and a wide trip. Following a stewards’ inquiry, the finish became official with no action taken.
“It will help her in the long run with the trouble she was in and being on the inside,” said Tokyo Time’s trainer Shug McGaughey.
Kitten’s Point, who was timed in 1:50.22, earned $90,000 for breeder George Strawbridge’s Augustin Stable. The victory was an emotional one for Motion, who has always been a staunch supporter of Prado, even during a decline in his business for a couple of years after being inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008.
“I didn’t understand why everybody got off him. He’s a Hall of Famer,” said Motion, his voice cracking with emotion. “It’s emotional for me to win races like this with him. He’s a special rider.”
Prado rode the Maryland-based trainer’s first stakes winner in New York, Secret Firm, who captured the 1998 Amsterdam in a dead-heat before capturing the King’s Bishop at Saratoga.
Kitten’s Point may be headed to Keeneland, where she was nosed out of a stakes victory in the Jessamine on turf last fall after breaking her maiden at first asking over Presque Isle Downs’ synthetic track.
“You’d have to think about a race like the Ashland (over Keeneland’s Polytrack on April 6),” Motion said. “I wish it was a mile and an eighth because she’s run well on the synthetic. Definitely, I’ll have to think about that.”