Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey's homebred Precious Kitten, racing for the first time for trainer Bobby Frankel, took command of Saturday's $170,550 Mrs. Revere Stakes (gr. IIT) mid-stretch, then was all out to hold off the streaking J'ray for a neck victory on the Churchill Downs turf.
The tracking Precious Kitten, under Rafael Bejarano, took over from the pacesetting Quite a Bride, emerging from between horses at the head of the stretch in the 1 1/16-mile event for 3-year-old fillies. She had a clear advantage briefly in the final furlong until J'Ray, ridden by Calvin Borel, got into full gear from the outside. Precious Kitten responded when challenged, however, and held off a determined J'Ray, with Quite a Bride, the 9-5 favorite in the field of 11, taking third over May Night.
"I saw at the eighth pole that she (J'ray) was coming from behind really strong, but I had a lot of horse and I saved a little bit," said Bejarano. "When that horse came to her, she (Precious Kitten) came again. She ran a good race."
Precious Kitten, a filly by Catienus
--Kitten's First (Lear Fan), was saddled by Dale Romans for her last start, a half-length defeat when second to Meribel in Keeneland's Valley View (gr. III), which was moved from turf to Polytrack Oct. 20. Prior to that, William Fox conditioned her for a neck victory in the Martha Washington Breeders' Cup on the Laurel Park lawn Sept. 30.
Precious Kitten, who did not compete at 2, improved her record in 2006 to 3-4-1 in 10 starts. She earned $99,402 Saturday and has now banked $329,688.
Quite a Bride, coming off a two-length win in the one-mile Pebbles at Belmont Oct. 9, set an easy pace for Cornelio Velazquez of :24 2/5, :49 4/5 and 1:15 1/5 with Bridge Game and Precious Kitten in tracking position to the far turn. Heading into the stretch, Precious Kitten got the lead while slowly edging away from Quite a Bride and May Night, who loomed into contention while rallying wide. Coming 10 wide for the drive, however, J'Ray swept past all except the winner. The final time was a slow 1:45 3/5 on firm going.
The third choice, Precious Kitten paid $12.40, $5.40, and $3.80. J'ray, who rebounded from sixth in the Valley View, returned $6.40 and $4.80, completing a $75.20 exacta. She finished one length ahead of Quite a Bride, who was seeking her sixth win of the year and paid $3 to show.
A half-length back in fourth was May Night, followed by Brownie Points, Meribel, Gasia, Warrior Gal, Bridge Game, Gottah Penny, and Goldie Rose.