Hangovers weren't the only thing to come out of the Eclipse Awards dinner in Beverly Hills, Calif., Jan. 24. Various connections gave voice to their private plans as to where they hope to run prominent horses in the coming months.
Trainer John Servis, coming off last year's brilliant campaigning of champion 3-year-old male Smarty Jones
, is mapping a similar schedule for his undefeated charge, Rockport Harbor. The Remsen Stakes (gr. II) winner, owned by Rick Porter, is at Oaklawn Park with Servis, and will make his 2005 debut in either the Southwest Stakes or the Rebel Stakes before contesting the Arkansas Derby (gr. II). Smarty Jones won all three of those tilts last year before winning the first two legs of the Triple Crown.
Champion 2-year-old filly of 2004 Sweet Catomine has been spoiling to mix it up against the boys. According to her breeder/owner Marty Wygod, the daughter of Storm Cat
, who won her 2005 debut in the Santa Ysabel Stakes (gr. III), will likely skip the Feb. 12 Las Virgenes Stakes (gr. I) and go straight to the Santa Anita Oaks (gr. I) March 13. If all goes well there, she will duel with males in the Apr. 9 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) before charting her course to Louisville the first week in May.
Roses in May, runner-up to Ghostzapper in the Breeders' Cup Classic - Powered by Dodge (gr. I), will make his 2005 debut Feb. 5 in the Donn Handicap (gr. I) at Gulfstream Park, according to his owner Ken Ramsey. Should he pass that test, Roses in May will be on his way to Dubai for the March 26 Dubai World Cup (UAE-I). Ramsey was direct in his reasoning on this. "The winner of that race gets $3.6 million U.S.," he noted.
Ramsey's homebred Kitten's Joy, who took home the Eclipse Award for champion turf male of 2004, is coming back from surgery to remove a chip, and Ramsey said he and trainer Dale Romans are pointing to the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) on the Kentucky Derby undercard May 7 going nine furlongs. Kitten's Joy won on the 2004 Derby card, taking the Crown Royal American Turf Stakes (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-olds.
Ramsey is pondering an ambitious schedule for Kitten's Joy that includes an engagement in the Arlington Million (gr. IT) in August and one in the Oct. 2 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I).
Horse of the Year Ghostzapper will again have his races carefully parceled out by trainer Bobby Frankel and owner Frank Stronach. His first start is likely to come either in the April 9 Oaklawn Handicap (gr. II) or the Met Mile (gr. I) in May, with future engagements likely to include some combination of the Suburban Handicap (gr. I), Whitney (gr. I), and Woodward Stakes (gr. I).