Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s Kera's Kitten, far back in the Jan. 2 Turfway Prevue Stakes after a poor start, bounced back in a big way with an easy score in the $50,000 WEBN Stakes for 3-year-olds at Turfway Park Jan. 30 (VIDEO).
Ridden by Tommy Pompell and showing no aversion to a temperature of about 20 degrees, Kera’s Kitten took the early lead in the one-mile stakes on Polytrack and never looked back, winning by 2 1/2 lengths over Slewzoom and Lucky Chuck, who were in the mix from the half-mile point of the race.
Trained by Michael Maker, Kera’s Kitten, a 3-year-old by the Ramsey stallion Kitten's Joy , won for the third time in five starts. The colt broke his maiden in his debut career on the turf at Kentucky Downs and then won the $100,000 El Joven Stakes on the turf at Retama Park in Texas.
Kera’s Kitten paid $13.80 to win as the fourth choice in the WEBN, one of Turfway’s steppingstones to the March 27 Lane’s End Stakes (gr. II). The final prep is the $100,000 John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at 1 1/16 miles Feb. 27; Maker said the colt would point to the Battaglia Memorial
Fractions for the WEBN were :24.25 for the opening quarter-mile, :48.56 for the half-mile, 1:13.88 for six furlongs, and 1:41.21 for the mile. The Polytrack was playing slower than usual due to the cold temperature.
"(Maker) told me I had the speed,” said Pompell, who was aboard Kera’s Kitten for the first time. “He didn’t break real well, but I kind of got after him and got him to the lead and settled him down from there. On the final turn, they came up to me and I let mine out a little bit, seeing as how I had horse, but there was really no challenge.”
Maker, reached by phone from his winter base in Florida, said: “Well, he runs a lot better when he breaks good. He had to load first (in the WEBN), and he gets a little anxious standing in the gate, even though he had three schooling sessions this week. But of course, it’s different with other horses around.”