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Derby Kitten ... Destiny's Darling?

23 April 2011. Derby Kitten and Julien Leparoux win the Coolmore Lexington Stakes at Keeneland Racecourse.
Zipse’s Kentucky Derby Daily – Day 3

Some things just seem meant to be. A few weeks ago, it appeared the chances of Derby Kitten being part of the 137th Run for the Roses were slim to none. The son of Kitten's Joy had never won anything but a maiden race in eight tries. Although he had shown good form in 2011 including a fast closing 2nd place finish in the Alligator Alley Stakes at Gulfstream Park, and was entered in the last important prep on the Derby Trail, it was believed that the late developing colt owned by Ken Ramsey would not have the earnings to make the Derby field even with a win in the Lexington Stakes.

Win, he did.


Trained by Mike Maker, the impressive last-to-first win announced Derby Kitten as a horse on the come. After a lackluster juvenile season, he has run four good races in 2011 out of four tries. With each race better than the last, it is apparent that this is a colt getting good at just the right time. Still even with his 1st place check, he would need help to get in the Derby field. One by one he would get that help. The defections of The Factor, J P's Gusto, and Jaycito moved him closer, but it was not until this week's announcement that Toby's Corner was unable to go, that Derby Kitten had finally cracked the top 20. To say his owner was happy was an understatement.

There are still plenty of questions, like who did he beat in the Lexington, and will his sharp form translate to dirt, but there is reason to have real hope. In the Lexington, he ran right by a horse named Prime Cut, who was coming off an impressive win over the highly regarded Bind in the race before. Adding to the visual impressiveness of the Lexington win was the time of the race. The 1:42.03 final time looks real good when compared to the over 1:50 clocking for the Blue Grass run one week earlier over the same Keeneland strip. The Lexington featured much more dirt like fractions than the Blue Grass, and Derby Kitten was still able to finish in a quick final furlong. This kind of race should prepare the Kitten well for a Derby run.

His breeding also gives reason to believe he has a shot on Saturday. Despite his one and only dirt race being a poor one, Derby Kitten may be just fine on dirt. Derby Kitten is a full brother to William's Kitten, who was one of the more well liked Kentucky Derby candidates last winter, before an injury knocked him out for the year. William's Kitten ran several good races on the dirt including a 2nd to eventual Derby winner Super Saver in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs. Looking a little deeper into his pedigree we find the broodmare sire Menifee, who made strong runs to be 2nd in both the Derby and the Preakness.

Could it be destiny? Ramsey said Derby Kitten got his name because they thought he could follow in William's Kitten's footsteps as a big-time prospect. At least he will get the chance that his brother did not.


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Older Comments about Derby Kitten ... Destiny's Darling?...

Nicr horse . I wish i had one.
Ken Ramsey deserves to win a big one some day, maybe Saturday will be the day. I love the Kitten's Joy blood, and not just for turf.

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