Kitten's Joy remained unbeaten on turf in five starts with an impressive 2 1/2-length victory Friday at Churchill Downs in the Crown Royal American Turf (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-olds.
After making his first two starts on the dirt, Kitten's Joy was switched to the grass and has been perfect since, the Crown Royal his third straight stakes victory. He won the Tropical Park Derby (gr. IIIT) at Calder and Palm Beach Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Gulfstream before shipping to Kentucky.
Under Jerry Bailey, Kitten's Joy came from off the pace in the 1 1/16 mile race to win in a time of 1:43.21, The 3-year-old colt was bred by his owners, Ken and Sarah Ramsey. He is trained by Dale Romans. Kitten's Joy is by El Prado
out of the Lear Fan mare Kitten's First.
"We worked him on the grass at Saratoga last summer because we thought he would like it," Romans said. "And he sure did. He's just a different horse on the grass. This was his best race yet. He ran into a slow pace and he lost ground when he had to go wide on the turn, and he still was much the best."
Ken Ramsey said the colt would make his next start in the St. Jameses' Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot in June.
"A few years ago, I had a horse named Steaming Home get beat a neck at the Royal Ascot meeting, and I want to go back and win a race there," Ramsey said. He said he expects to ship Kitten's Joy to England in mid-May.
Bailey said he wanted to stay away from the inside portion of the Churchill turf course.
"This is a banked course and anytime you have rain, the one path on the turf is going to be the last to dry out," Bailey said. "After getting squeezed at the start, we were a bit wide so I figured we might as well stay there and let him run his race. He was the best horse."
Capo, Grand Heritage, El Prado Rob and Brass Hat were making most of the early running, Capo on the lead through fractions of :24.70, :49.43, and 1:13.37. Kitten's Joy took the lead in the stretch while well off the hedge as Prince Arch came on for second and Capo held on for third.
Kitten's Joy paid $4.20, $2.80, and $2.60 as the favorite. Prince Arch, under Brice Blanc, returned $3.40 and $2.80. Capo, with Edgar Prado aboard, paid $4.80.
Brass Hat was fourth, followed by El Prado Rob, Level Playingfield, Grand Heritage, Knox and Archie B.