Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Kitten's Joy, who is undefeated in four starts on grass, has been nominated to the Lane's End Stakes (gr. II) and Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I). Ramsey said he and trainer Dale Romans have left the door "wide open" for the colt to take a shot on the Kentucky Derby (gr. I) trail.
"Our original plan was to point for the Translyvania Stakes (gr. IIIT) on April 2, followed by the Crown Royal American Turf (gr. III) on (Kentucky) Oaks (gr. I) day," Ramsey said. "We'd then aim for the Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) at Arlington in the summer. But we have an open mind, and may decide to give him one shot at the dirt. If he runs poorly, we'll go back to the grass, but if she should run a big race, well, I'd rather be trying for the Kentucky Derby than the Crown Royal.
"When Jerry Bailey got off him after winning the Tropical Park Derby (gr. IIIT), he said, 'I'll go wherever you want me to go to ride this horse. Just tell me where he's running and I'll be there.' Of course, he was referring to turf races and not necessarily the Kentucky Derby, but it shows just what he thinks of the horse."
Kitten's Joy, who has won three 1 1/8-mile races already, including the Tropical Park Derby and Palm Beach Stakes (gr. IIIT), is a son of El Prado
. Although his dam is a half-sister to United Nations Handicap (gr. IT) winner Down the Aisle, he is from the same female family as Spectacular Bid, as well as Elmendorf Farm stars Road Princess, winner of the Mother Goose (gr. I) and second in the Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I), and Reign Road, winner of the Goodwood Handicap (gr. II) and Del Breeders' Cup (gr. II). Also from that family is Breeders' Futurity (gr. II) winner Provante. Kitten's Joy is inbred to classic dirt influences Tom Fool and Hail to Reason.
In his only two dirt starts, Kitten's Joy was fifth in a five-furlong maiden race at Saratoga, which was mainly for experience and to give him a race, then was second in a one-mile maiden race at Belmont, in which he was beaten a head. Finishing third was eventual Risen Star (gr. II) winner Gradepoint.
Kitten's Joy, who is stabled at Palm Meadows, is scheduled to work on the dirt this weekend. As to which direction Ramsey is leaning, he said, "I can resist anything but temptation."
Ramsey said he also has two "longshots" for the Derby trail. One is the maiden Soaring With Eagles, who is with Dermot Weld in Ireland and who is scheduled to run on the dirt at Lingfield on March 1. He is by Woodman, out of the Graustark mare Memories of Pam. The other is Perpetual Peace, a maiden winner at Ellis Park for Ronny Werner, who was third to Sir Oscar in the In Reality Division of the Florida Stallion Stakes Series.