Retama's Two Juvenile Stakes Serve as Breeders' Cup Preps

(Thursday, October 22, 2009) - (By GREG MELIKOV) A pair of Retama Park’s $100,000 stakes races on the turf for two-year-olds on Saturday is serving as preps for the Breeders’ Cup next month. Trainer Mike Maker shipped in a pair of Kitten’s Joy juveniles hoping their performances will propel them to the 26th Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita Park.

How serious are the owners-breeders, Ken and Sarah Ramsey? The horses, which arrived Tuesday morning from Louisville, were supplemented for $6,000 each. And Julien Leparoux is flying in to ride both promising youngsters.

The jockey, number two in earnings among all U.S.-based jockeys for the year through October 19 with $14.4 million, is familiar with Lisa’s Kitten. He rode her to victory by three-quarters of a length in a field of eight on September 25 at Belmont, covering the 1 1/16 miles on the grass in 1:43. The filly trailed by 5 ½ lengths after six furlongs, launched her rally entering the stretch, made up 3 ½ lengths and won going away.

Lisa’s Kitten will break from the 9 post in the M2 Technology La Senorita at a mile on the grass, the same distance as the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf on November 6. Her main opposition in the 12-filly field will come from Shotgun Gulch, undefeated in two sprints at Remington Park; C C’s Pal, winner of two straight by more than 10 lengths at Retama; and three others that have scored on the grass.

Leparoux also will climb aboard Kera’s Kitten, breaking from post 5, in the SKYY El Joven for colts and geldings at a mile on the grass, the same distance as the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf. He replaces Miguel Mena, who was aboard the colt when he defeated seven others and won by a length on September 21 going wire-to-wire at Kentucky Downs. He covered the six furlongs in 1:14 on a soft turf course.

Among the chief challengers in the 12-horse field are four that scored on the grass: geldings B’wanagoldmine and Nocknonheavensgate, and colts Prince Eddington and McKenna’s Justice.

The Ramseys bred and raced Kitten’s Joy, six for eight in 2004 en route to winning the Eclipse Award for top male turf runner as a three-year-old. Unfortunately, the son of El Prado came up 1 ¾ lengths short, behind Better Talk Now, in the Breeders; Cup Turf (Gr. IT) at Lone Star Park that year.

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