Reigning American turf champion Kitten's Joy turned in his final major prep for his 2005 debut in Monday's 16th running of the $250,000-added Firecracker Breeders' Cup (gr. IIT) with a blistering five-furlong turf workout between races on Wednesday at Churchill Downs.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey's 4-year-old son of El Prado covered the distance around the dogs on the Matt Winn Turf Course in :59 1/5 under exercise rider Faustino Orantes. The Dale Romans-trained colt worked between the third and fourth races on a hot and humid afternoon over a turf course that was rated "firm."
"That's pretty fast," said Romans. "It told him (Orantes) to let him run down the lane a little bit, and he 'smooched' to him and he just exploded down the lane.'
"It was perfect," added Romans. "He's a fast horse, so he's going to work fast. But he did it easy, he did it in hand."
Kitten's Joy was noticeably "washy" as he stepped onto the turf course for his final pre-race work, but Romans said that was understandable given the muggy weather conditions.
"It's hot and we had warmed him up a lot in the barn," said Romans. "He had been tack-walking about a half-an-hour just to get loosened up. It is hot and he sweats a lot, but it wasn't nerves or anything like that. He handled it well in the work."
The one-mile Firecracker Breeders' Cup will be the first race for Kitten's Joy since being upset in the 2004 Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) at Lone Star Park. He underwent surgery shortly after that race to remove bone chips from his left knee. After Wednesday's sizzling move, Romans said he believes that Kitten's Joy is where he needs to be heading into the Firecracker Breeders' Cup.
"I think so," said Romans. "It's time to bring him out and we'll see."
Kitten's Joy has been assigned high weight of 124 pounds for the Firecracker Breeders' Cup. He has a career record of 8-3-0 in 12 races and earnings of $1,705,911.