Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Kitten's Joy, last year's champion turf male, will be sent to Dr. Larry Bramlage at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington on Sunday to have his left knee examined following two sub par workouts, and will be forced to miss the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (gr. IT).
Bramlage had operated on Kitten's Joy's knee last November to remove chips, which sidelined him until July when he returned to win the Firecracker Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT) before finishing second in the Arlington Million (gr. IT).
"After his last work, we had Dr. Steve Allday examine him at Belmont and he didn't like what he saw in the knee," Ken Ramsey said. "He didn't say 100% the horse was finished, but he did say he didn't think we could get him in shape for the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic. So, we're going to send him to Rood & Riddle to have him evaluated and a complete set of digital radiographs taken on the knee, and then we'll have Dr. Bramlage determine what the course of action should be. He'll be able to compare the radiographs to the ones he took before. We should know something Sunday night or Monday morning.
"I was very depressed when I heard the news. We didn't like his last work. Normally, the horse will work five furlongs in :59 or 1:00, but he worked in 1:02 2/5. The workout he had at Saratoga, in which he worked in 1:04 1/5, we attributed to a flock of geese that flew right in front of him and forced Edgar Prado to stand up in the saddle and check. We just said. 'That wasn't the horse.' Then when he ran second in the Arlington Million, we felt that wasn't him either. When I talked to John Velazquez, he said he was struggling on that course."
Ramsey had planned on running Kitten's Joy in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fra-I), but canceled those plans because of the likelihood of a soft course and pointed the son of El Prado
to to the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic instead.
"I wanted to go to the Arc really bad, and it bothered me that I had to eat my own words that we were going to go," Ramsey said. "But when I spoke to Prado, he said he was a much better horse on a firm turf course.
"We really wanted to run in the Joe Hirsch and try to win the Breeders' Cup with him. And we had everything set up for a trip to Japan for the Japan Cup. I'm hoping for good news from Dr. Bramlage, but right now I'm pessimistic, and I'm usually an optimistic person. I just have a bad feeling about it. Dr. Bramlage will make the final decision whether we go on or if this is the end of it. And if it's the end, I'm 99% sure I'll stand him at my farm next year."
Kitten's Joy has won nine of his 14 career starts, and nine of 12 on the turf, for earnings of $2,075,791.