"We are going to California," proclaimed Ken Ramsey after his homebred 2-year-olds Lisa's Kitten and Kera's Kitten each captured victories in a pair of $100,000 stakes over the turf course at Retama Park on the night of Oct. 24.
The Breeders' Cup World Championships in two weeks are Ramsey's destination.
The filly Lisa's Kitten, rallying from last in the 11-horse field, was blocked and took up sharply at the half-mile pole but poured it on through the stretch to score a one-length win as the 6-5 favorite in the M2 Technology La Senorita Stakes. Lisa's Kitten is being pointed the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf on Nov. 6.
The colt Kera's Kitten, also a 6-5 choice, experienced no such dramatics, drawing off in the lane for a five-length triumph in the Skyy El Joven Stakes. Kera's Kitten would make his next start in the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf on Nov. 7.
Both winning 2-year-olds are by Kitten's Joy and were ridden to victory by Julien Leparoux, who arrived in San Antonio by private jet along with Ramsey two hours before post time. They were supplemented to the races for $6,000 apiece.
Ramsey co-owns Lisa's Kitten and Kera's Kitten with his wife, Sarah. Mike Maker is the winning trainer. The Ramseys bred and raced Kitten’s Joy, who was six-for-eight in 2004 en route to winning the Eclipse Award for top male turf horse as a 3-year-old.
Chances are the plane ride was less exciting than the trip Leparoux encountered in the far turn when he was forced to check aboard Lisa's Kitten and pull back to last with three furlongs to run.
But Lisa's Kitten recovered and sped up the rail through the stretch for an eye-catching victory over Winning Tale and Seasoned. Lisa's Kitten covered the mile over a soft turf course in 1.39.91.
Leparoux earlier rode her to victory by three-quarters of a length in a field of eight on Sept. 25 at Belmont, covering the 1 1/16 miles on the grass in 1:43.
Two races later at Retama, Kera's Kitten impressed with a forceful front-running win. Kera's Kitten took the lead into the first turn and widened his margin through the stretch against 10 other juvenile colts. Time for the mile was 1.39.67.
Leparoux replaced Miguel Mena, who was aboard Kera's Kitten when he won by a length over seven rivals on Sept. 21 going wire to wire at Kentucky Downs.