Turf Champion Kitten's Joy Retired to Ramsey Farm

Turf Champion Kitten's Joy Retired to Ramsey Farm
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
Kitten's Joy retired to Ramsey Farm after exam reveals knee damage.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey's homebred Kitten's Joy, last year's male grass champion who also received support for a 3-year-old championship, has been retired from racing and is scheduled to arrive Sept. 27 at Ramsey Farm near Nicholasville, Ky., where he will enter stud.

Kitten's Joy's retirement came shortly after Dr. Larry Bramlage of Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington examined the son of El Prado's left knee following two sub par workouts in preparation for a repeat win in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational (gr. IT) Oct. 1 at Belmont Park.

"Dr. Bramlage found wear and tear on the cartilage," Ken Ramsey said. "It wasn't bone on bone, but there was an exposed spot. He said it wasn't that bad and that Kitten's Joy could continue racing, but the exposed part might sting him while he was racing. We didn't want to take any chances, and we didn't want to run him in lesser races."

Bramlage had operated on Kitten's Joy's knee last November to remove chips. Sidelined over the winter and spring, Kitten's Joy returned to win the July 4 Firecracker Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs and run second in the Aug. 13 Arlington Million Stakes (gr. IT).

Ramsey had big plans for Kitten's Joy this fall. He originally planned to run him in the Oct. 2 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I), but canceled those plans because of the likelihood of a soft turf course. By choosing the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic to prepare for the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) Oct. 29 at Belmont, Ramsey could also have considered running him again in the Japan Cup (Jpn-I) Nov. 27.

Kitten's Joy retired with nine wins and four seconds from 14 starts and earnings of $2,075,791 while trained by Dale Romans. In addition to the Joe Hirsch, he won last year's Secretariat (gr. IT), Crown Royal American Turf (gr. IIIT), and Palm Beach (gr. IIIT) Stakes, plus the Virginia (gr. IIIT) and Tropical Park (gr. IIIT) Derbys. His season ended with a runner-up effort in the Breeders' Cup Turf, but was still voted champion grass male by an overwhelming margin.

Kitten's Joy is one of two stakes winners from his winning dam, Kitten's First (by Lear Fan).

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