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Team Valor-Motion Duo Likely Choices in Kitten's Joy
By Jack Will
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL - Team Valor International’s uncoupled pair of Lucky Chappy and Howe Great, trained by Graham Motion, look like the probably one-two choices in a field of eight 3-year-olds drawn for Saturday’s $100,000 Kitten’s Joy Stakes going 1 1/16 miles on turf at Gulfstream Park.
Leading Gulfstream rider Javier Castellano gets the call on Irish-bred Lucky Chappy and Edgar Prado will be aboard Howe Great. A son of High Chaparral, Lucky Chappy makes his first start since finishing fourth behind Wrote in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5 after a solid third-place effort in the Bourbon Stakes (G3) at Keeneland. He began his career winning the last two of three starts in Italy.
Howe Great makes his fourth career start and stakes debut after a wire-to-wire ‘non-winners of two’ allowance victory over the course and distance here on Dec. 15. The Kentucky homebred son of Hat Trick broke his maiden sprinting at Parx on the main track in late October after a runner-up debut.
“His (Lucky Chappy) PPs are quite strong, even though he’s not an overly impressive-looking colt,” said Motion Thursday morning from Fair Hill Training Center in Maryland. “If he can just get the hang of breaking from the gate a little better…he’s been slow to break in both of his starts in this country. I thought Howe Great’s race was very good, but this race will be a big step up for him.”
Also certain to get support in the first running of the Kitten’s Joy will be Albaugh Family’s Cozzetti with Julien Leparoux in the saddle for trainer Dale Romans. The roan/gray son of top turf runner and sire Cozzene will bid to bounce back from a forgettable trip to California when he finished eighth in the CashCall Futurity (G1) run on the synthetic main track at Hollywood Park on Dec. 17.
Cozzetti was impressive breaking his maiden by five lengths in an ‘off the turf’ maiden special test going 1 1/16 miles on a ‘sloppy’ track at Churchill Downs in mid-November after finishing fifth and fourth in maiden turf tests at Belmont Park to begin his career.
Jockey Rajiv Maragh rides Jacks or Better Farm’s Argentine Tango, who already has made three starts over the course at the meet, including a last-to-first move in an allowance race on Dec. 26, although disqualified from that victory. Trained by Stanley Gold, the Florida homebred by Black Mambo came back to finish a close-up sixth in an allowance on Jan. 8 when Gold thought he was too anxious and too close to the pace.
Completing the field for the Kitten’s Joy are Ice Wine Stable and Wesley Ward’s Italo, Jeffrey Sanchez; A and V Investments’ El Romano, Juan Leyva; Luis Duco Stable’s Empire Builder, A.A. Gallardo; and Rontos Racing Stable’s Scorcher, Joe Rocco, Jr.