KITTEN’S JOY TOP SIRE OF VA DERBY WEEKEND STAKES NOMINATIONS

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Kitten’s Joy by Joy Gilbert

Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Kitten’s Joy has a history with Colonial Downs.

As a three-year-old, the chestnut son of El Prado, out of the Lear Fan mare Kitten’s First, won the 2004 renewal of the Virginia Derby on his way to amassing a $2,075,791 bankroll.

On his list of honors are two grade one wins in the Secretariat and the Turf Classic and a second in the Breeders’ Cup Turf.  He set a new track record in the Secretariat and was eventually awarded the Eclipse Award for Outstanding Male Turf Horse.

He retired to Ramsey Farm in Nicholasville, KY where his owners set about making him a successful sire.

While Kitten’s Joy didn’t amass as much earnings or garner as many awards as some other Virginia Derby winners (Gio Ponti and English Channel to name two), he has become a clear winner again at stud.

This year boasting a $50,000 stud fee, Kitten’s Joy is off to another good start already posting over $4.8 million in progeny earnings, good enough for the #6 spot on the General Sire list.  His leading earner so far this season is Stephanie’s Kitten ($473,655).

Those impressive numbers may well go up again this weekend as a total of 15 runners sired by Kitten’s Joy have been nominated to the Virginia Derby, the Virginia Oaks and his namesake race, the Kitten’s Joy Stakes.

The Ramsey’s are the breeders of the majority of those runners including seven in the Virginia Derby: Admiral Kitten ($142,080, graded stakes placed in last two starts),  Amen Kitten ($69,573, second last two starts in allowance races at Arlington Park and Keeneland),  Charming Kitten ($349,000, 2nd Penn Mile, 3rd Bluegrass Stakes Gr.1),  Fear the Kitten ($166,811, 2nd Southwest Gr.3, 3rd  LeCompte Gr.3 and recently sixth in the Peter Pan Gr.2 – all on dirt), Honor The Kitten ($38,650, broke maiden at first asking at Keeneland,  fourth in second start (turf debut) at Belmont June 23), Jump For Kitten ($66,748) and Redwood Kitten ($122,800, won the listed JW Murphy at Pimlico and in the money in all four stakes starts so far this year).

But wait, there’s more…

Also nominated is Golden Jason (maiden winner at Arlington Park last time out after two thirds in his first two outings at Turfway) , bred by Mikhail Yanakov.

That’s eight, and in a lot of races, that’s a full field.

The $150,000 Virginia Oaks Gr.3 is likely to see a daughter of Kitten’s Joy in the gate as well as Always Kitten, Emotional Kitten and Kitten’s Dumpling have been nominated. Amen Kitten was a stakes winner at two, Emotional Kitten has earned $133,815 to date and comes to the race off a win in the $100,000 Hilltop Stakes at Pimlico and Kitten’s Dumpling, a earner of $313,262, nominates off of two stakes wins in a row including the $100,000 Regret Gr.3.

Of course, CLN will also offer the $50,000 Kitten’s Joy which will featured the cross-entered Amen Kitten,  Derby Kitten ($368,235), Live In Joy ($186,676, stakes placed last out) and Wayward Sailor ($194,285).

Oddly enough, there are no Kitten’s Joy’s nominated to the Chenery or the Tippet Stakes. While that seems consistent with this sire’s general profile, it seems a statistical anomaly when compared to the other featured events the Saturday.

That said, that’s a lot of Kitten’s with plenty of potential for much Joy!

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