Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s 5-year-old Big Blue Kitten was impressive
winning a tough allowance race at Gulfstream Park on Dec. 8 by a head
over Za Approval in his first start since finishing 10th of 11 in the
Prince of Wales Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot meet in England on June 20.
“I was real proud of him,” said trainer Chad Brown Friday. “You
never really know how they’ll come back from a trip like that. He’s on
target for the Fort Lauderdale.” The $150,000 Fort Lauderdale Stakes
(G3) will be run at 1 1/16 miles on turf next Saturday, Jan. 12.
A Kentucky homebred by Kitten’s Joy, Big Blue Kitten emerged as a
potential star on the rise in 2011 when he posted four straight
victories after beginning his career in the claiming ranks, scoring his
biggest victory in the Hall of Fame Stakes (G2) at Saratoga.
Prior to the trip to England last spring, Big Blue Kitten ran twice
at Gulfstream, finishing third in an allowance race and a game third
behind Get Stormy in the Gulfstream Park turf Handicap (G1). In one more
start before the trip to England he finished second to Horse of the
Year candidate Wise Dan in the Ben Ali Stakes (G3) on Polytrack at
Keeneland in April.
Brown was on hand at Gulfstream Friday to saddle Martin Schwartz’
3-year-old filly Lemon Belle in the second race, a maiden special test
at six furlongs restricted to Florida-breds, and she came through with a
sharp victory rallying from last of five to score by five lengths under
jockey Joel Rosario.
“It was a very good race for her, although you have to factor in
that it was a significant class relief for her running in a small field
against state-breds,” said Brown. “The other thing you could consider on
her improvement today was that it was the first time she got to run on a
truly fast track.”
A $400,000 Keeneland April 2-year-old purchase by Lemon Drop Kid,
Lemon Belle is a half-sister to 2011 Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) winner
Unrivaled Belle. In three previous starts Lemon Belle had finished sixth
going six furlongs on a ‘good’ track at Belmont Park on Oct. 8, a
well-beaten fifth trying a mile on a ‘good’ track at Aqueduct on Nov. 9
and ninth in a maiden special on turf here on Dec. 14.