Favored Precious Kitten, second twice in graded stakes company earlier this year, earned the second graded stakes victory of her career Saturday when she rallied from just off the pace to win the $100,000 Gallorette Handicap (gr. IIIT) (VIDEO) for fillies and mares on the lawn at Pimlico Race Course.
Owned and bred by Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey and ridden by Rafael Bejarano, 4-year-old Precious Kitten, a half-sister to 2004 grass champion Kitten's Joy, established a course record of 1:40.32 in winning the 1 1/16-mile fixture. The previous record of 1:40.33 was set by Air Attack in 1991.
"My wife had a stroke in February and it’s been tough on the whole family," Kenneth Ramsey said afterward. "The win today probably brought her some joy at home today.”
The fractions, set by Homoristic, were :23.49 for the quarter, :47.49 for the half and 1:11.16 for three-quarters on a firm course. Precious Kitten stalked the pace while three wide before taking command mid-stretch. Precious Kitten won under brisk urging as A True Pussycat, who saved ground under a patient Alan Garcia, closed steadily.
“I had the best horse in the race," Bejarano said. "She had a very nice trip to the quarter pole. Once I let her go, she gave me everything.”
Precious Kitten, a Kentucky homebred by Catienus out of Kitten’s First, by Lear Fan, won for the fourth time in 13 career starts while increasing her earnings to $449,688. Last year, she won the grade II Mrs. Revere Stakes at Churchill Downs.
Trained by Bobby Frankel, Precious Kitten returned $4.60, $2.80 and $2.40 as the 13-10 choice in a field of eight. A True Pussycat ($10, $5) rallied inside of Precious Kitten in the stretch to finish second, beaten three-quarters of a length. Trick’s Pic rallied late for third under Garrett Gomez, three-quarters of a length behind A True Pussycat. Grigorieva went from last to fourth, followed by Aunt Henny, Feelin' the Breeze, Humoristic and High Moment.
The Gallorette marked back-to-back stakes win on the day for Bejarano, who won the Hirsch Jacobs Stakes (gr. III) with Street Magician in the previous race.