Kentucky Pharoah will try for a third straight win on turf Jan. 30 at Gulfstream Park

Kentucky Pharoah will try for a third straight win on turf Jan. 30 at Gulfstream Park

Coglianese Photos/Ryan Thompson

Kentucky Pharoah, Never Surprised Set for Kitten's Joy

Each horse enters the Kitten's Joy Stakes (G3T) off a stakes win on the turf.

A pair of 3-year-olds that most recently registered stakes wins on turf will try to take the next step when Kentucky Pharoah and Never Surprised make their graded stakes debuts in the $100,000 Kitten's Joy Stakes (G3T) Jan. 30 at Gulfstream Park.

The two recent stakes winners will start from the two outside post positions in the expected field of seven 3-year-olds set for the one-mile turf test.

Calumet Farm homebred Kentucky Pharoah finished off the board in his first two maiden starts last year but found success once trainer Jack Sisterson moved the son of American Pharoah  to the turf. In his debut on the grass, Kentucky Pharoah scored a front-end win in a one-mile maiden special race Dec. 19 at Gulfstream to close out his season.

Off that effort Kentucky Pharoah made his stakes debut and 3-year-old debut in the Dania Beach Stakes Jan. 2 again at one mile on the Gulfstream turf. He enjoyed at least a 1 1/2-length advantage at every point of call in posting a three-length victory that day. He'll try the same mile trip Saturday.

"You look at his pedigree and you'd think he'd be better suited once we got him on the turf," Sisterson said. "We did actually have him (scheduled) to run first time on the turf at Keeneland and it came off. With the turf being canceled at Churchill Downs we couldn't get him on the turf quick enough.

"He's run against some very good dirt horses. We put him on the grass, and he seems to have improved and gone forward for it."

Should Saturday's race go well, the connections are considering international options.

"We've discussed some ambitious spots after this race moving forward with him, possibly take him over to Europe," Sisterson said. "We've briefly discussed the Irish Two Thousand Guineas (G1) with him. He's got to improve massively, but he's a horse that's lightly raced and definitely going in the right direction. It's pretty cool—and to have an owner that's willing to do something like that. We'll see what this Saturday brings, but he's definitely doing great."

Repole Stable's Never Surprised also is comfortable on the lead. After posting a 3 1/2-length score in a turf sprint Nov. 8 at Aqueduct, the son of Constitution , bred in Kentucky by Golden Pedigree, stretched out to 1 1/16 miles for the Central Park Stakes Nov. 28 also at Aqueduct. Never Surprised enjoyed a clear advantage throughout that race on his way to a 1 3/4-length victory.

That marked the final juvenile start for Never Surprised. He has been working regularly for trainer Todd Pletcher ahead of his 3-year-old debut, registering five breezes from Dec. 17-Jan. 22 at Palm Beach Downs.

"He's two-for-two and he's been training well so this has kind of been our target with him since his last start at Aqueduct," Pletcher said. "We shipped him down here and got him acclimated, but he's had a pretty steady series of breezes. He won his debut going six and stretched out the next time. It seems like he loves the grass, and we're happy with the way he's coming up to it."

Making his stakes debut will be Sigiloso, who showed little in his maiden debut sprinting on dirt before thriving in his second start: a one mile maiden race for Florida-breds Jan. 13 on the Gulfstream turf. A son of Khozan , Gelfenstein Farm's Sigiloso is trained by Antonio Sano.

While Eric Fein's Original has just a maiden win under his belt in three starts, that score came in his lone start on the turf, a 1 1/16-mile maiden race at Aqueduct. The son of Quality Road , bred in Kentucky by Peter E. Blum Thoroughbreds, was purchased for $425,000 by Tonja Terranova at the 2020 Ocala Breeders' Sales Spring Sale of 2-Year-Olds in training where he was consigned by De Meric Sales.

Entries: Kitten's Joy S. (G3T)

Gulfstream Park, Saturday, January 30, 2021, Race 4

  • Grade IIIT
  • 1m
  • Turf
  • $100,000
  • 3 yo
  • 1:10 PM (local)
PPHorseJockeyWgtTrainerM/L
11Chess's Dream (FL)Tyler Gaffalione118Michael J. Maker8/1
22It's a Gamble (NY)Luis Saez120Kelly J. Breen9/2
33Original (KY)John R. Velazquez118John P. Terranova II5/1
44Sigiloso (FL)Edgard J. Zayas118Antonio Sano10/1
55Chao (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateJose L. Ortiz118Saffie A. Joseph, Jr.12/1
66Never Surprised (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateIrad Ortiz, Jr.123Todd A. Pletcher9/5
77Kentucky Pharoah (KY)Julien R. Leparoux123Jack Sisterson5/2