Stephanie’s Kitten was one of the toughest and most successful horses ever to compete in the Breeders’ Cup World Championships. A homebred daughter of Kitten's Joy owned by Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, Stephanie’s Kitten joined Zenyatta and Beholder as the only horses to win two different Breeders’ Cup races in 2015.
The strapping bay with a crooked blaze got her first taste of Breeders’ Cup glory in 2011 when she captured the Juvenile Fillies Turf (G2) at Churchill Downs for trainer Wayne Catalano. After finishing third in the Diana Stakes (G1) at Saratoga in 2013, Stephanie’s Kitten went to the sidelines. She returned to action in the spring of 2014 with new trainer Chad Brown. By September, Stephanie’s Kitten was back to her winning ways with a triumph in the 2014 Flower Bowl. In her next start, she was the runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf (G1) at Santa Anita.
Two days later, Stephanie’s Kitten was in the sales ring at Fasig-Tipton Co.’s Lexington, Ky. venue. Her owner and breeder Ken Ramsey was willing to sell her, but only for a fantastic price. The final bid of $3.95 million was not enough, so Ramsey kept her for his racing stable.
In her first start of 2015, the 6-year-old mare won Tampa Bay Downs’ Hillsborough Stakes (G3) March 7. She went winless in her next three starts prior to the “Win and You’re In” Flower Bowl at Belmont Park. Stephanie’s Kitten rounded back into her Grade 1 winning form Oct. 3 when she earned a repeat victory in the Flower Bowl Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park.
Still, the crowd at Keeneland and bettors sent her away at nearly 8-1 in the 1 3/16 miles Filly & Mare Turf against nine rivals, including odds-on favorite and multiple Group 1 winner Legatissimo from Ireland. Under jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., Stephanie’s Kitten was content to stay back in last place during the first six furlongs of the race before gradually moving inside on the far turn. Then Ortiz shifted the bay mare into high gear, splitting horses in the lane, taking a clear advantage in the stretch, and holding off Legatissimo 1 ¼ length behind and stopping the clock in 1:56.22.
"I broke from the outside, so I was trying to save some ground," Ortiz said. "I found a hole to go through around the quarter pole and then when I asked her, she just took off."
“What a jockey, what a trainer, what a mare what a way to go out in a blaze of glory,” was how Ken Ramsey summed it up.
Two days later, Stephanie’s Kitten was sold by the Ramseys to Northern Farm in Japan for $2.8 million. She finished her career with 11 wins in 25 starts and earnings of more than $4.29 million.
Breeders’ Cup Record
Breeders’ Cup Races Won
|2015 Filly & Mare Turf|
|2011 Juvenile Fillies Turf|