Pacesetter Storming Inti was all heart in denying tenacious favorite We Miss Artie by a head in a white-knuckled finish to the $100,000 Kitten's Joy Stakes (VIDEO) Jan. 19 at Gulfstream Park.
With veteran Alan Garcia at the reins, Santa Rosa Racing Stables' son of Stormy Atlantic set the early tempo in the 1 1/16-mile turf contest for 3-year-olds and held a narrow advantage into the far turn. We Miss Artie stalked from fourth, then third under newly minted Eclipse Award-winning jockey Javier Castellano, who pushed his mount to confront the winner on the outside entering the stretch before seizing a slim lead in midstretch.
Battling back with the relentless challenger locked at his throat latch, Storming Inti fought We Miss Artie stride for stride in the final sixteenth and won in a desperate thrust at the finish line to prevail in the head-bobbing finish.
Storming Inti was timed in 1:42.34 on firm turf after carving fractions of :23.99, :48.64, and 1:12.30, and tallied his fourth successive victory. He entered with back-to-back stakes wins in the Pulpit in the slop Nov. 30 at Gulfstream and Awad Oct. 27 on the Belmont Park turf.
"He just doesn't like to be passed," winning trainer Chad Brown said of Storming Inti. "We saw that early on with the horse, and in his last race he was hooked in the lane in his dirt race and he came back. He had a stiffer test from a better racehorse today and he showed up. I thought Alan really nursed him down the backside and reserved some energy for the stretch battle. It all worked out great."
Garcia said Brown left the racing strategy up to him, saying the trainer told him, 'Whatever you decide is fine with me. If you get in front, slow it down and try to steal it.'
Ken and Sarah Ramsey, honored the previous evening as the Eclipse Award winning owners and breeders of 2013, campaign runner-up We Miss Artie, a grade I-winning son of Artie Schiller bought at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale The Kentucky-based couple bred and raced Kitten's Joy , the 2004 champion turf male and North America's leading sire of 2013 for whom the race is named. Ken Ramsey presented the trophy to Storming Inti's connections after the race.
Kitten's Joy was represented in the race by Cabo Cat, who rallied from last in the eight-horse field to finish third, 1 1/4 lengths behind 9-5 favorite We Miss Artie.
Storming Inti, the slight second choice in the betting, paid $5.80, $3, and $2.60 while keying at $17.80 exacta with We Miss Artie, who returned $3.20 and $2.60. Cabo Cat paid $3 to show.
Bred in Pennsylvania by Brushwood Stable, Storming Inti is out of the unraced Pulpit mare Tarfaya, who is from the family of several graded stakes winners including champion Outstandingly and prominent sires Bernstein and Sky Mesa . He was purchased for $100,000 out of the Eaton Sales consignment at Keeneland September in 2012.