Admiral Kitten will take on familiar foes Stormy Len, Jack Milton, and War
Dancer when he aims for his second Grade 1 win in the $500,000 Jamaica
Handicap on Saturday at Belmont Park.
Photo: Four Footed Fotos
Jamaica, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for 3-year-olds, attracted 13 entries
and 12 betting interests, with Admiral Kitten coupled in the wagering
with Get In Line. It was carded as the 8th race with a 4:40 p.m. scheduled post time and precedes the Grade 1 Frizette and Grade 1 Foxwoods Champagne.
April through July, Admiral Kitten finished second in four straight
races: an allowance at Keeneland, the Grade 2 American Turf at Churchill
Downs, and the Grade 3 Arlington Classic and Grade 3 American Derby at
Admiral Kitten picked a good spot to post a breakthrough win, sustaining a steady run from 10th
to win the Secretariat by 1 ¼ lengths on August 17, one of two Grade 1
wins that day at Arlington for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey, who also
took the Arlington Million with Real Solution.
Maker trains both Admiral Kitten and his entry-mate Get In Line, who
was claimed for $50,000 out of a fifth-place finish in May at Churchill
Downs. The front-runner enters the Jamaica off a fifth in an
off-the-turf edition of the Grade 3 National Museum of Racing Hall of
Fame on August 9 at Saratoga.
Napravnik will ride Admiral Kitten from post 4, with David Cohen set to
ride Get In Line from post 11. The entry was tabbed as the 7-2 morning
Len and Jack Milton, second and third, respectively, in the
Secretariat, will try to turn the tables on Admiral Kitten in the
by David Donk for Leonard Leveen and Michael P. Shanley, Stormy Len has
made an additional start since the Secretariat, finishing third, beaten
one length, against older horses in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer on
September 15 at Woodbine. He was third by a head in the American Derby
prior to the Secretariat.
always felt he was going to make a better 4-year-old than a
3-year-old," said Donk of Stormy Len. "I'm really happy with the
progress he's made since early summer. Last time, it was a lot to ask of
him to race a mile and a half against older horses. He was little bit
rank because the pace was so slow, so it turned out to be a really good
effort. There's still a maturity he needs to reach, but it's a big field
and there should be pace in the race. He stands as good of a chance as
Solis, aboard Stormy Len in the American Derby and Secretariat, will be
back aboard the colt on Saturday. Stormy Len drew post 7 and was
installed at 8-1 on the morning line.
Barber's Jack Milton, winner of the Grade 3 Transylvania in April at
Keeneland, finished 2 ½ lengths behind Admiral Kitten in the
Secretariat. He also was third in the Penn Mile in June and in the Grade
2 Virginia Derby in July.
Pletcher trains both Jack Milton and New York-bred Notacatbutallama,
who has won five stakes, including three at Belmont. Notacatbutallama
captured Belmont's Grade 3 Hill Prince in June and the Solar Splendor
overnight stakes in July, then added a win in the Grade 3 Hall of Fame
in the slop at Saratoga in August. In his most recent start, the Repole
Stable color-bearer was second to Jamaica entrant Five Iron in the Grade
3 Saranac on September 1 at the Spa.
horses are very consistent and always run well," said Pletcher of Jack
Milton and Notacatbutallama. "In turf racing you need a good trip, and,
hopefully, we can maneuver one of those in a full field. A mile and an
eighth is a little bit of a tricky race from a position standpoint. The
'Llama' has run well here on numerous occasions. Jack Milton has not
[raced at Belmont], but he has run well at Gulfstream and Keeneland and
Arlington and Virginia, so he doesn't seem to be particular about his
courses. I think both would benefit from a legitimate pace."
Lezcano has the call aboard Jack Milton, 6-1, from post 5.
Notacatbutallama, 8-1, will depart from post 13 with Javier Castellano
in the irons.
Racing and Diamond M Stable's War Dancer got up to win the Grade 2
Virginia Derby by a head in July at Colonial Downs, then was sixth when
switched to the dirt for the Grade 1 Travers on August 24 at Saratoga
Race Course. He received a Beyer Speed Figure of 98 for his Travers
performance, four points higher than his previous best, achieved on the
turf in the Virginia Derby.
to the Virginia Derby, War Dancer was third behind Noble Tune and
Admiral Kitten in the Grade 2 American Turf in May at Churchill and
second in the Centaur in June at Indiana Downs.
were confident he'd run well in the Travers, and it doesn't surprise me
he ran his best number in that race," said trainer Ken McPeek. "If the
race had set up a little better for him, he might have finished better.
We could have run in the Secretariat at Arlington or stayed in New York
for the Travers, and we felt like he deserved a chance to run on the
dirt. The timing of the Jamaica makes it a really good next spot for us,
but we're not opposed to taking him back to the dirt at some point."
Junior Alvarado will ride War Dancer, the 4-1 morning-line second choice, from post 1.
5-1 third choice on the morning line is Balance the Books, who garnered
the Stroll overnight stakes by a neck on August 14 at Saratoga. It was
his first win in four starts so far in 2013. As a 2-year-old, Balance
the Books won the Grade 2 With Anticipation and Grade 3 Bourbon, and was
third in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf.
Jamaica is] obviously a really tough race. We'll just take our shot in
there," said Chad Brown, who trains Balance the Books for Klaravich
Stables and William H. Lawrence. "The distance of the race looks right
for us, and he's in good health and is training well. [In the Stroll] he
found himself closer off a slow pace, and he still kicked. He obviously
needs to step up and come with a career-best race to make an impact on
this field, but he certainly is capable of it. It looked like he had a
big 3-year-old year ahead of him, and he got sidetracked in the first
part of the year. I'm hoping he's rounding back into the form he had
going into the Breeders' Cup last year."
field includes four other stakes winners: Five Iron, Joha, Michael With
Us, and Up With the Birds. Mills and Global Asset complete the field.