Breeders’ Cup Favorite Kitten’s Joy Has Race in His Honor
Photo Copyright Eclipse Sportswire
By Emily Shields for TVG
In 2004, Kitten’s Joy was heavily favored for the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), which also brought together the likes of Powerscourt and Star Over the Bay. Kitten’s Joy was riding a win streak that included the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) over older males and the Secretariat Stakes (G1) against fellow sophomores, but at the wire 27-1 shot Better Talk Now outran him to win the Turf. Kitten’s Joy settled for second, but became a premier sire in America and now has a 7 ½ furlong race for three-year-olds in his honor. It will be run at Gulfstream Park on Saturday as the seventh of 11 races.
The Graham Motion-trained Irish Mias is a 3-1 morning line choice to win. He was second in the Pulpit Stakes here November 30 and hasn’t run since. He broke his maiden in the Laurel Futurity in September around two turns, and has been top three in four of five starts. Rajiv Maragh will ride the son of Sky Mesa.
Bless the Kitten, who is by the race’s namesake Kitten’s Joy, is 9-2 after winning a Churchill Downs maiden race at 1 1/16-miles. He was fourth on debut at Keeneland for trainer Mike Maker, who has had him work four times over the local dirt for this. Irad Ortiz, Jr. will ride.
The filly Yesterdayoncemore (Ire) changes trainers from James Stack to Patrick Biancone. The daughter of No Nay Never broke her maiden in her United States debut after coming from Ireland; she won the Juvenile Fillies Turf Stakes at Del Mar with a furious drive. A sixth-place effort in the Surfer Girl at Santa Anita knocked her out of Breeders’ Cup contention, but she has had three workouts on the comeback since then.
Island Commish is a son of Commissioner who has won three of five starts. The last two were across town at Gulfstream Park West, but he broke his maiden in an off the turf sloppy event here in August. Paco Lopez will ride.
Summer to Remember rounds out the top contenders. Todd Pletcher trains the $200,000 son of Summer Front, who was second on debut at Saratoga over the summer behind a horse who went on to win a grade 1, then broke his maiden on this course in December. Luis Saez retains the mount on this colt, who worked a bullet at Palm Beach Downs on New Year’s Eve.
Ny Traffic, who is entered for the main track only in the event of bad weather, Mystic Lancelot, King Theo, and Get Smokin round out the field.
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