Kenneth and Sarah
Ramsey’s homebred Big Blue Kitten rolled into the Grade 2, $150,000
National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame on a four-race win streak, and with a
powerful run along the rail in the lane made it five in a row Friday at
Saratoga Race Course.
The lone runner in the field of seven 3-year-olds who had never
previously appeared in a stakes race, the bay son of 2004 Champion Turf Horse
Kitten’s Joy went off as the 9-2 third choice in the wagering and won by
1 ¼ lengths. Under leading Saratoga
rider John Velazquez, he completed the 1 1/16-mile turf race in 1:42.91.
Big Blue Kitten paid $11 for a $2 win bet. Perregaux, the longest shot
on the board at 19-1, ran strongly inside the sixteenth pole and finished
second, a half-length in front of Humble and Hungry.
In the winner’s circle after the race, a jubilant Kenneth Ramsey
reveled in watching a colt that steadily climbed the ladder from $35,000 maiden
claimers reach such heights.
“We’ve offered this horse for a claiming price three times
and no one claimed him,” Ramsey yelled out. “No more
Trainer Chad Brown, a Mechanicville, N.Y., native who lives in Saratoga Springs, said
Ramsey was among his first clients when he took out his trainer’s license
in 2007. Even though Big Blue Kitten only won his prior start in an entry-level
allowance by a half-length, Brown said the performance convinced him the colt
was ready for the big time.
“The last start really got my attention,” Brown said.
“Johnny told me that horse could have won by five. He had his plan since
the last race. He said, ‘Just leave me on the horse.’ He’s
been planning this for five weeks. Johnny won the race on the first turn. He
got to the fence.”
When the gate opened, two-time stakes winner Rustler Hustler set out to
the front, dueling with Humble and Hungry as Big Blue Kitten tucked in behind
them with the normally front-running favorite Street Game on his outside.
Jockey Jose Lezcano took Humble and Hungry back into a stalking
position on the backside, and Rustler Hustler cut out the first quarter-mile in
24.42 seconds and a half in 49.12.
As the field reached the far turn, Humble and Hungry took another run
at Rustler Hustler on the outside. Velazquez, meantime hugged the rail, close
to the leaders, with Big Blue Kitten and found a wide-open lane to run through.
He overhauled Humble and Hungry and Rustler Hustler at the eighth pole and
“It was a perfect trip,” Velazquez said. “If I wanted
to plan this, it couldn’t have turned out more perfect. We wanted to have
somebody in front of us; the horse in front of us stayed in front longer than I
thought he would. I got through on the rail, and he made me look like a hero.
This horse just seems to get better and better with every race. Every time they
ask him to do something different, he does it.”
Rustler Hustler finished fourth in the race followed by Crimson China,
Benergy and Street Game.
With the victory, Big Blue Kitten improved his record to five wins from
six starts with earnings of $182,310.