Maybe she didn’t like the trip west. Maybe she didn’t like
Del Mar’s turf course. Whatever the case may have been, Kitten’s Dumplings signaled she was back in a huge way by
rebounding from a 4th place loss in her last outing to winning the
first Grade 1 stakes of her career. Had it not been for that loss, the filly
likely would have entered the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup as the favorite, but top billing instead went to
Alterite who had become a Grade 1 winner in her first U.S. start last out.
Patiently ridden by jockey Julien Leparoux, the 3-year old
Kitten’s Joy filly was content to languish at the back of the field while
front-running Leigh Court carved out
brisk fractions on the front end. With Gary Boulanger in the irons, Leigh Court
put up the first quarter in 23:27 and maintained that clip to put up the half
in 46:56. The daughter of Grand Slam continued to show the way out of the far
turn and then spurted clear in the stretch, looking very much like a winner.
Little did Leigh Court know that the stretch runners were
just beginning to unfurl their long legs to commence their stretch drive.
Looking confident the entire way, Kitten’s Dumplings roared up the center of
the track closely tracking favored Alterite
who was also making her move. Moving in tandem, the pair quickly cut into Leigh
Court’s lead, but despite the jump Alterite had on Kitten’s Dumplings, it
quickly became evident that she was being out-finished by Kitten’s Dumplings.
Both fillies swept past the tiring pace setter to cross the wire with Kitten’s
Dumplings best by a neck. Caroline Thomas, who began her rally too late, got up just in time to steal third
from Leigh Court.
As the 9-2 second betting choice, Kitten’s Dumplings paid
$11.80/$4.60/$3.60 for the win and completed the 1 1/8-mile race in 1.48:43.
Alterite returned $3.20/$2.60 for the place, and Caroline Thomas returned $5.20
for the show. Pacesetting Leigh Court held for fourth, and the order of finish
was completed by Say, I’m Already Sexy, Emotional Kitten, Sarach, and Concise.
The quirky filly was permitted to leave the paddock early in
order to avoid being part of the cluster in the crowded Keeneland walking ring.
Despite getting to the track first, Kitten’s Dumplings was still very much
headstrong in front of a record fall meet crowd. Once in the starting gate,
though, she quickly settled down to business and showed that the preferential
treatment she was granted was worth the trouble. Aided by a quick pace, she
once again showed the industry that the Ramseys’ breeding practices, while unconventional
by today’s standards, are clearly working.
Today’s win was Kitten’s Dumplings fourth in eight starts
this year. Before dropping the G1 Del Mar Oaks, she had been on a three race
win streak with victories in the Edgewood, G3 Regret, and G2 Lake George. The
$240,000 winner’s share of the purse bumped up her career earnings to $691,292
in twelve career starts.