Following a troubled third in the Diana Stakes (gr. IT) at Saratoga Race Course, two-time grade I winner Stephanie's Kitten is under consideration for the $750,000 Beverly D. Stakes (gr. IT) on the Aug. 17 Arlington Million (gr. IT) undercard at Arlington Park.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey's homebred daughter of Kitten's Joy exited the 1 1/8-mile turf test July 27 in fine shape, trainer Wayne Catalano said. She was a 3-2 second choice in the Diane, won by Laughing with Dream Peace second.
"She came out really good. The race doesn't look like it took too much out of her," Catalano reported.
After a slow beginning in the Diana, Stephanie's Kitten was forced to close from last of the five contestants into a dawdling pace. Unable to get to the winner, the 4-year-old filly finished a hard-charging third—beaten only half a length by two horses to whom she gave five pounds.
"Things didn't set up right. She didn't break good and it kind of cost us the race," Catalano said.
Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez has been aboard in eight of Stephanie Kitten's 13 starts (and five of her seven victories). The winner of the 2011 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. IT) looks able to come back in three weeks, her trainer believes.
The Beverly D. would be a homecoming for the filly, who ran her first two races and broke her maiden at the Arlington Heights oval in the summer of 2011. This time, however, she would be returning a much faster and fitter animal—as proven by her first two starts of 2013. She earned the highest two turf route Beyer figures (100 and 101) of any filly or mare in the country while winning the Churchill Distaff Turf Mile Presented by Longines (gr. IIT) at Churchill Downs and the Longines Just a Game Stakes (gr. IT) at Belmont Park.
As far as her ability to handle the 1 3/16-mile distance of Arlington's marquee event for fillies and mares—a sixteenth of a mile farther than she has ever raced—Catalano has reason to be confident.
"She went the last eighth in :10 3/5 in the Diana—not too many horses can do that," the trainer said.