Quiet Kitten Steps into Graded Company in The Very One

March 02, 2016 11:34am
Quiet Kitten wins 2015 Claiming Crown Tiara
Photo: Lauren King/Gulfstream Park
First and second in a pair of starter stakes at the Championship Meet, Crossed Sabres Farm’s Quiet Kitten will take another step up into graded company in Saturday’s $150,000 The Very One (G3) at Gulfstream Park.

Also looking to make the grade in the 1 3/16-mile The Very One is Kitzys Rocket, competitive in a pair of Gulfstream allowance races already this winter, making her stakes debut in her 10th lifetime start.

The 27th running of the The Very One for fillies and mares 4 years old and up on the grass is one of three stakes on the 13-race program, joining the $500,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (G2) for older horses on dirt and $200,000 Mac Diarmida (G2) for horses 4 years old and up over the turf course.

Quiet Kitten is entered to run back 19 days after contesting the pace for almost all of 1 1/16 mile before coming up a neck short in the $60,000 Mary Todd on Feb. 15, finishing 5 ½ lengths clear of third. The 4-year-old daughter of Kitten’s Joy was second in the Cellars Shiraz Stakes Oct. 31 at Gulfstream Park West and won the $125,000 Claiming Crown Tiara Dec. 5 on opening day of the Championship Meet.

“She came out of the last race great and she’s been training well. She’s doing everything right. I’m going to try to get a little more distance out of her. It looks like she’ll probably be on the lead, and maybe catch me if you can. I don’t know if that’s going to be our tactic but we’re going to look at all options. I’m thinking that’s probably what’s going on,” trainer Marcus Vitali said. “I think that timing is on our side. I think that everything just fell into place. She’s doing great. She’s stepping up her game, so we’d like to get some black type in her. We’ll see what happens.”

In her only previous graded-stakes try, Quiet Kitten got banged around at the start of the Marshua’s River (G3) Jan. 9 at Gulfstream, dueled for the lead with eventual winner Sandiva and was in front after a half-mile before fading to eighth.

“I think the difference in winning and losing was the start of the race. We had a lot of early action, getting bumped around,” Vitali said. “I’m a big believer in, and you always hear me say, it’s all about the trip, trip, trip. I think she had a great trip but the break, the run-up and the first part of the race I think was where it was won or lost.”

Claimed for $25,000 last March at Gulfstream, Quiet Kitten has run 10 times for Vitali with four wins, two seconds, one third and $185,094 in purse earnings. Nik Juarez will ride from Post 2 at 117 pounds.

“I’m a big claiming guy. You’re going to get one out of five that’s going to be like that. You hope the other ones just hold their own, and some of the other ones won’t make the cut, too,” Vitali said. “With the investment my boss puts up once in a while we deserve a break, so to speak.”

Kitzys Rocket, a 4-year-old daughter of multiple graded-stakes winner Parading, enters The Very One off a fourth-place effort, beaten four lengths, in a 1 3/16-mile optional claiming allowance Feb. 3. She opened the year in a similar spot Jan. 7, where she was third by a half-length going 1 1/8 miles.

“I don’t like running her a mile; she does better at a mile and an eighth, a mile and three-sixteenths type of races,” trainer Barclay Tagg said. “I think she’s good enough to be a stakes horse.  The races are tough down here anyway, the allowance races, and she runs pretty well in them. I thought I’d try her in a stake and see if we can’t get some black type with her. She’s a pretty nice filly, really. She’s got a lot of class. She’s no slouch.”

Nicksar Farm’s Kitzys Rocket owns two wins, both coming last summer at Saratoga Race Course. She broke her maiden going 1 3/8 miles July 27 and came back six weeks later to take an entry-level allowance by three-quarters of a length. She ran once more in 2015, finishing off the board before joining Tagg’s South Florida string at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream’s satellite training facility in Palm Beach County.

“She’s a really high-strung filly, but on race day she’s a different horse. I don’t know why. We put her on a van and ship her down from Palm Meadows and we think she’s going to get down there and get all upset, but she gets her game face on, stands perfect until race time and runs hard. She’s got a lot of class that way,” Tagg said. “She’s always been pretty high-strung, but for some reason she knows when it’s race day. It sounds like a storybook tale, but it’s the truth. It pleases us, I’ll tell you that.”

Hall of Famer Edgar Prado will ride from Post 4 at 117 pounds.

Trainer Chad Brown entered a trio of European group stakes winners in Dacita, Guapaza and Olorda. A three-time Group 1 winner in her native Chile, Dacita has run twice in the U.S., winning the Ballston Spa (G2) last August at Saratoga in her debut and finishing ninth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1).

Also bred in Chile is Guapaza, a 5-year-old mare that has won her last three starts including a Group 2 stakes last May and is making her North American debut as the 119-pound highweight. A Group 3 winner in France, Olorda has made three starts in the U.S. since last summer, all in Grade 1 stakes, her best finish being a third in the Queen Elizabeth II  Cup in the fall at Keeneland.

Rounding out the The Very One field is Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Al’s Gal. The stakes-placed 5-year-old daughter of turf champion English Channel beat Kitzys Rocket in the Feb. 3 Gulfstream allowance in her most recent effort, and is making her graded stakes debut.

Source: Gulfstream Park


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