SECRETARIAT STAKES | PURSE: $500,000 | 3-YEAR-OLDS | GRADE 1 | 1 1/4 MILES (TURF)
Ken Ramsey brought his grandkids to the races as usual, and in the $500,000 Secretariat Stakes, Admiral Kitten and jockey Rosie Napravnik got the job done. The two parties met in the Arlington Park winner's circle on Aug. 17, celebrating the first Grade 1 victory for another son of the Ramseys' popular turf sire, Kitten's Joy.
It was a huge afternoon for Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Kitten's Joy runners, as just moments before the Secretariat, Big Blue Kitten won the $600,000 Sword Dancer Invitational at Saratoga Race Course. They would also go on to win the Arlington Million with Real Solution.
The last race for sophomore Admiral Kitten, a Mike Maker trainee, was a tough loss as the bay colt missed the July 13 American Derby by a head to Infinite Magic. He was also second in the May 25 Arlington Classic and in the May 3 American Turf Stakes at Churchill Downs.
In fact, Admiral Kitten had quite a case of seconditis, dating back to a runner-up finish in allowance company at Keeneland on April 2. He had not won since taking the El Joven Stakes at Retama Park last Nov. 11, a victory that came on the heels of his debut maiden win at Keeneland on the all weather track last Oct. 5.
"After four second-place finishes, we were due for a good trip one of these times," Maker said. "He had lost ground to the winners in those races, and Rosie saved ground on both turns here, and he came with his run."
Admiral Kitten was 10th near the inside when 14-1 shot Stormy Len went out to set the pace for a :24.96 quarter, a :49.91 half, and three-quarters in 1:14.22. He continued to move up between foes down the backstretch, and commenced a steady advance heading into the second bend as a mile went in 1:38.13.
Napravnik attested to the class of the young runner, who swung four wide nearing upper stretch and continued with a sold closing response to wrest command and kick clear under firm handling. Admiral Kitten clocked 1 ¼ miles on "firm" turf in 2:02.17.
"He's very laid back, very enjoyable to ride," the jockey said. "We were able to sit back and relax, that's kind of the horse's style. We got a clear trip around the second turn and he was just finishing fast."
Admiral Kitten returned $12.40, $5, and $3.20, while Stormy Len held on to bring $14.40 and $6.80 with 5-2 favorite Jack Milton paying $3 to show.
"It was a great run," trainer David Donk said of Stormy Len's runner-up finish; the Harlan's Holiday colt came off a third in the American Derby. "It's a process, and he's still developing, and I'm impressed that he's as good as he is as a 3-year-old. I wish he would have had a chance to see the winner a little bit sooner, but I'm happy for Rosie, and that winner is a nice horse."
Draw Two, Visiyani, Amen Kitten, Balthazar, First Cornerstone, Tattenham, Yeager, Rydilluc, Golden Jason, and Bethel completed the order of finish.
Bred in Kentucky out of the Grand Slam mare Reachinforthestars, Admiral Kitten now has three wins and four seconds from eight starts, good for earnings of $459,080.