Stephanie’s Kitten added yet another log to the fire fueling the hot streak that owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey are experiencing this spring. Ridden by Julien Leparoux for trainer Wayne Catalano, the Ramsey homebred came from last to first to catch Hungry Island in the final strides and win the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Stakes Presented by Longines (gr. IIT) by a neck on the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) undercard May 4.
Stephanie’s Kitten is a Ramsey-bred top and bottom. The 4-year-old bay filly is a daughter of the Ramseys’ house stallion Kitten’s Joy. Also a homebred for the Ramseys, Kitten’s Joy was champion turf male in his 3-year-old year on the strength of six wins in eight starts that included the Secretariat Stakes (gr. IT) and the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational Stakes (gr IT). The striking son of El Prado is out of the winning Lear Fan mare Kitten’s First, a half sister to grade I winner Down the Aisle (by Runaway Groom). Kitten’s First was purchased in the name of Sarah Ramsey for $41,000 at the 1993 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s March 2-year-old sale. For the Ramseys she produced, in addition to Kitten’s Joy, stakes winner Justenuffheart (by Broad Brush) and grade I winner Precious Kitten, by another Ramsey house stallion Catienus (by Storm Cat), whom the Ramseys claimed and raced to black-type success and a grade I-placing in the Whitney Handicap at Saratoga.
Unfold the Rose, the dam of Stephanie’s Kitten, is also a Ramsey homebred and a Catienus daughter of the Ramseys’ first grade I winner, the Red Ransom mare Bail Out Becky, who won the Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT) in the familiar red and white Ramsey colors. A $40,000 yearling purchase, Bail Out Becky descends from La Troienne. Her third dam, Best Side, is inbred 3x2 to that blue hen mare through her grandsire Bimelech and her dam Belle of Troy. While this may not be the most evergreen branch of the La Troienne family tree, it certainly has produced some spectacular foliage. Bail Out Becky is a half sister to Woodman’s Girl, the dam of top-flight stallion More Than Ready.
Kitten’s Joy is the sire of 33 stakes winners. In an age of ubiquitious inbreeding to Northern Dancer and Mr. Prospector, it is interesting to note that the pedigrees of 10 of those 33, including Stephanie’s Kitten, contain inbreeding to Roberto, for a 30% strike rate. Kitten’s Joy stands for $50,000 at Ramsey Farm near Nicholasville, Ky.—T.H.