Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Bobby's Kitten, again showing his affinity for the turf, rated nicely early and pulled away to a comfortable victory in the $500,000 Penn Mile on the grass at Hollywood Casino at Penn National Race Course May 31 (VIDEO).
It capped a big evening at Penn National for trainer Chad Brown and jockey Javier Castellano. Brown also trains Last Gunfighter, who won the $200,000 Mountainview Stakes. Castellano was aboard Last Gunfighter, and also won the $150,000 Pennsylvania Governor's Cup Stakes for consecutive years with Tightend Touchdown.
Bobby's Kitten came into the Penn Mile for 3-year-olds off a series of workouts at the Oklahoma training track in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., after a disappointing 12th-place finish as the favorite in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) on Polytrack at Keeneland. The homebred by Kitten's Joy out of the Forestry mare Celestial Woods clearly relished the return to turf.
Castellano was able to get Bobby's Kitten, the favorite at 6-5 from post 4, to rate in second as longshot Sing the Dream opened a clear lead early through fractions of :23.32 for the opening quarter-mile and :48.02 for the half-mile on a course rated good. Storming Inti sat in third with Laddie Boy fourth.
Castellano gave Bobby's Kitten his cue heading into the far turn, and took over through six furlongs in 1:12.24 as Storming Inti, also trained by Brown, began his run, and second choice Global View attempted to rally from the rail. Under urging, Bobby's Kitten appeared home free in the lane and went on to win by 2 3/4 lengths in 1:35.82 for the mile.
Global View, ridden by Gary Stevens, gradually made up some ground to finish second, two lengths over Storming Inti and rider Alan Garcia. Divine Oath, ridden by Chris DeCarlo, picked up the pieces for fourth.
Bobby's Kitten has shown a desire to race on the lead, but Castellano said Brown has been trying to teach the colt to rate.
"I really like the way he rated today," Castellano said. "He was able to relax (through moderate early fractions). He really likes to go early, but we've tried to rate him the last couple of races. It paid off."
Brown said Castellano did an excellent job riding Bobby's Kitten, and given the effort, he believes Bobby's Kitten can be more than a miler.
"I'm going to try to stretch this horse out," Brown said. "I want to see how far he can go."
Jeff Ramsey, on hand to accept the trophy for his parents, indicated Bobby's Kitten most likely will run next in the $1.25 million Belmont Invitational Derby at 1 1/4 miles on the grass July 5.
Bobby's Kitten returned $4.60, $2.60, and $2.20 across the board, while Global View paid $2.60 and $2.20. Storming Inti checked in at $3 to show. The $2 exacta paid $11.40 and the $2 trifecta returned $28.80.
The Penn Mile win pushed the winner's earnings to $589,766. Bobby's Kitten now has four wins and two thirds in six starts on grass.