Ramsey Homebred Makes History In Secretariat
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (Aug. 17, 2013) – Admiral Kitten, a homebred son of Kitten's Joy for Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, became the first Secretariat winner sired by a previous winner. Ramsey's own Kitten's Joy was victorious in the 2004 running. Admiral Kitten snapped a string of four consecutive runner-up finishes when besting a dozen other sophomores in the Grade I $500,000 Secretariat Stakes at 1 1/4 miles on the Arlington International turf course.
A fast-closing second in the Grade III American Derby, the local prep for the Secretariat, Admiral Kitten settled near the back of the field in 10th early off longshot Golden Jason's splits of :24.96 and :49.91. Swinging wide into the stretch under jockey Rosie Napravnik, he closed relentlessly, edging clear in the final sixteenth to post a 1¼-length victory over Stormy Len in front of a crowd of 34,222. Admiral Kitten stopped the timer in 2:02.17.
Napravnik credited the horse’s temperament and attitude. “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. He's a very classy horse, very laid back, and very enjoyable to ride.”
Trainer Mike Maker gave credit to Napravnik for making the difference, “After four second-place finishes we were due for a good trip one of these times. 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 returned $12.40, $5.00, and $3.20 as the third choice in the wagering. This was the second Secretariat victory for owners Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, and the first win in the race for both Napravnik and Maker. The $279,000 winner's share boosted Admiral Kitten's career bankroll to $459,080.
Leonard Leveen and Michael P. Shanley's Stormy Len tracked the pace early and assumed command of the lead as Golden Jason began to give way. After darting clear off the turn and opening a three-length lead into the stretch, the David Donk trainee stayed on when passed, crossing the wire a clear second, returning $14.40 and $6.80.
Rider Alex Solis was pleased with his mount's performance, “I can't complain. We sat exactly where I wanted to be, and he is the kind of horse who just keeps on at that same pace when he gets going. I was really happy at the top of the stretch, with them having to come and get me. He ran great.”
Donk was equally pleased with the colt's performance, “It was a great run. It's a process, and he's still developing, and I'm impressed that he's as good as he is as a three-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.”
Jack Milton, sent postward as the 2.40-1 wagering favorite for owner Gary Barber and trainer Todd Pletcher, moved into contention nearing the far turn and kicked on to hold third under the wire, returning $3.00 to show. Jockey Joel Rosario said the favorite did not get an ideal trip, “He broke slow, and I had to rush a little bit to get position. Then we steadied a little bit turning for home, but he ran his race once we were going. With a better break we’d have done better. It hurts your momentum to have to use him up early and not relax.”
Fourth-place finisher Draw Two also encountered some traffic trouble according to rider Gary Stevens, “There was a lot of traffic, I had to bide my time longer than I would like. He finished with a powerful run.”
Visiyani, a French-bred, turned in the best performance of the three European entrants, checking in a respectable fifth after sitting close throughout. From the same connections that produced 2012 Secretariat winner Bayrir, he had yet to travel further than a mile in six career starts. Rider Christophe Soumillon believed the distance got the best of the son of Rock of Gibraltar, “I had a very good trip just behind the leaders. The horse was traveling well. But, he found the trip to be a bit too long.”
Completing the order of finish were: Amen Kitten, Balthazar, First Cornerstone, Tattenham, Yeager, Rydilluc, Golden Jason, and Bethel.