Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Emotional Kitten overcame early struggles with the “good” turf course and found her best footing late to run down versatile New York-bred Effie Trinket and win Saturday night’s 23rd running of the $205,100 Mrs. Revere (Grade II) by a half-length before a crowd of 12,222 at Churchill Downs.
Photo: Jim McCue, Maryland Jockey Club
The Matt Winn Turf Course had some give in the ground after Friday rain, and Emotional Kitten ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1:44.53. California-based Victor Espinoza flew in from California to ride the winner for trainer Wesley Ward.
Zero Game-IRE led the full field of 14 three-year-old fillies through fractions of :23.56 for the first quarter mile, :48.53 for the half and six furlongs in 1:13.17. Emotional Kitten was outrun early and trailed by 9 ¾ lengths with 2 ½ furlongs to run. Effie Trinket made a good three-wide move on the final turn to grab the lead and draw clear in midstretch, but Emotional Kitten angled out in the stretch and closed with a powerful late kick to get up in time.
“She struggled a little bit because the turf was a bit soft,” Espinoza said. “She was not real comfortable. I had to grab her and put her in the bridle. She was a little further back than I wanted, but I was more worried about her finding her stride. I didn’t want to force it to get her closer to the pace. The last half-mile she grabbed the bridle and started coming. … For a minute I thought I was going to finish second but as we got closer and to the last sixteenth (of a mile) I knew I’d get there at little bit before the wire.”
Emotional Kitten returned $11.80, $6.20 and $5.20 as the 9-2 third-betting choice. Effie Trinket, sent to post at odds of 12-1 under Shaun Bridgmohan, paid $11.20 and $7.60. Canadian-invader Dance Again, a 54-1 longshot ridden by Patrick Husbands, was another 1 ½ lengths back in third and returned $21.
Praia, Tapicat, Nellie Cashman, Frivolous, Keening, 3-1 favorite I’m Already Sexy, Quality Kitten, Allegheny Angel, E B Ryder, Remember Then and Zero Game-IRE completed the order of finish.
Emotional Kitten gave the Ramseys their 31st stakes win on the year and second Mrs. Revere triumph. The couple won the race in 2006 with Precious Kitten, who was trained by the late Hall of Famer Bobby Frankel.
Emotional Kitten is a Pennsylvania homebred daughter of the Ramsey’s ultra-productive stallion Kitten’s Joy. The chestnut filly’s dam is Silent Emotion, who is by Ghazi.
The $115,718 first-place check jumped her earnings to $357,533. She has won four of her 14 starts with a pair of seconds and a trio of thirds.
The Mrs. Revere was Emotional Kitten’s first graded stakes triumph. On the day before the Preakness Stakes, she won the $100,000 Hilltop at Pimlico and would go on to finish second to Emollient in the $350,750 American Oaks (GI) and third in the $301,250 Del Mar Oaks (GI) before a seventh-place effort in the $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (GI) at Keeneland on Oct. 12.
Racing at Churchill Downs continues Sunday with a 10-race program that begins at 12:40 p.m. ET. It will mark Day 16 of the 25-day Fall Meet.
MRS. REVERE QUOTES
VICTOR ESPINOZA, jockey on EMOTIONAL KITTEN (winner): “For a minute I thought I was going to finish second but as we got closer and to the last sixteenth (of a mile) I knew I’d get there at little bit before the wire.
“She struggled a little bit because the turf was a bit soft. She was not real comfortable. I had to grab her and put her in the bridle. She was a little further back than I wanted, but I was more worried about her finding her stride. I didn’t want to force it to get her closer to the pace. The last half-mile she grabbed the bridle and started coming.”
Q: It was worth the trip from California… “Today, yes. It was good. That was nice. Even at nighttime it was worth it.
“I came here because I knew the trainer and owner wanted me to ride because they’re shooting for a record of stakes wins in a year. She ran great with me in California and (trainer) Wesley Ward said ‘You have to come!’ It’s been an unbelievable year for the Ramseys.”
SHAUN BRIDGMOHAN, jockey on EFFIE TRINKET (runner-up): “I was trying for the sweep. She ran big and she tried hard – she tried all the way. I could feel the other horse (Emotional Kitten) coming, but she just ran me down.”
MALCOLM PIERCE, trainer of DANCE AGAIN (third): “I was shocked that she was 50-something to one, because she’s a pretty good filly and she’s improving with every race. I thought this was a really tough race. I thought going in tonight that my colt (Golden Sabre in the Commonwealth Turf) had a better shot. I don’t think he handled the second turn and the footing very well, but it’s good for those horses to come and compete with the best in the country. I’m very proud of the filly and I’m a little disappointed in the colt, but he’ll be fine. He’d very lightly raced and she’s a little more seasoned than him.
“It is a big step for this filly, because she won her last little race and it was her first stakes race, but it was against restricted company. Today it was wide open and she didn’t duck anybody and she showed that she might have to travel a bit next year. We still have the dirt to try with her, too, because that’s where she broke her maiden and she’s bred to run on the dirt.”
PATRICK HUSBANDS, jockey on DANCE AGAIN (third): “She’s going to be a very nice horse next year. She’s just won two races, but we all learn through experience. She’ll be nice next year at Woodbine.”
Q: Any significant issues during the race for Dance Again? “I didn’t have any problems. There was a nice pace up front, so I just weaved my way through to the top of the lane. I had a perfect trip.”
KENNY McPEEK, trainer of PRAIA (fourth): “She ran good. She just needs more real estate, I guess. She comes flyin’ and runs about the same race every time. I thought Alan (Garcia) rode here good. No complaint.”
WAYNE CATALANO, trainer of I’M ALREADY SEXY (ninth as the favorite): “We had a pretty good trip. I would have liked to have seen her settle a little bit. She was a little antsy early and that could have contributed to it. But she’s had a tough campaign and we’re just going to freshen her a little bit. She had a big year. She’s run good. Heck, she won half her races. She was five-for-10 coming in – that’s hard to do.”