A consistent runner with a 10-3-4 from 20 career starts, the homebred son of Kitten's Joy
won last year's Sword Dancer Invitational (gr. IT) and the 2011 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes (gr. IIT) in his two previous starts at the upstate New York track. His record also includes a win in last year's United Nations Stakes (gr. IT) at Monmouth Park
Breaking ninth and last in the Lure Stakes in his first start since finishing eighth in the Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) Nov. 2 at Santa Anita Park
, 7-10 favorite Big Blue Kitten was settled into a relaxed tempo as Plainview
laid down a solid pace with Bio Pro
stalking from second on the inner turf course.
Set down for the drive well before the quarter pole, Big Blue Kitten was fourth in early stretch but had nowhere to run in behind front-runners Plainview
and Bio Pro
, with Paris Vegas
to his the outside just past the eighth pole. When Paris Vegas failed to continue on, Joe Bravo capitalized with Big Blue Kitten and shifted to the outside. In the clear, his mount spurted past the leaders for the victory.
Big Blue Kitten won by three-quarters of a length from Bio Pro, with Legendary
and Plainview finishing in a dead-heat for third, another three-quarters of a length back.
"He is an old-time horse who knows how to run," Bravo said. "He sat in the pocket and was on the muscle the entire way. I take my hat off to (trainer) Chad Brown."
Final time for the 1 1/16-mile race on firm turf was 1:41.09.
"What a great horse," Brown said. "I wasn't quite sure if I had him fit enough off the layoff, but it seemed like a good spot to get him started. I told Joe if he won, it'd be terrific, but as long as he finished well we had some big plans for this horse later in the year. Lo' and behold, he got through anyway on heart."
Big Blue Kitten paid $5.40, $3.40, and $2.40 and Bio Pro returned $8.30 and $4. Legendary and Plainview brought $2.60 and $2.20, respectively, to show.
Kentucky-bred Big Blue Kitten is out of the Unaccounted For mare Spent Gold.