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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Arlington Park stakes recap (8/14/04)
Contact: David Zenner
KITTEN'S JOY DOMINATES GRADE I SECRETARIAT STAKES
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (August 14, 2004) -- Kenneth L. & Sarah K. Ramsey's Kitten's Joy took the lead on the far turn with a tremendous turn of foot and drew off to win the Grade I Secretariat Stakes by 3¼ lengths on Saturday to further solidify his status as the top 3-year-old turf runner in North America.
Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey was in the saddle aboard the son of El Prado who ran the mile and a quarter over firm turf in stakes-record time of 1:59.65. The prohibitive favorite in the International Festival of Racing Day crowd of 30,414 returned $3.80, $2.20 and $2.10.
Taken back early in the race, Kitten's Joy had only one horse beat through the first three-quarters of a mile while Cool Conductor led through lively fractions of 23.26 for the opening quarter-mile, 46.70 for the half-mile and a three-quarters split of 1:11.13.
Bailey angled Kitten's Joy out on the far turn, and by the time the field hit the top of the stretch, they were just a length off the lead. He took command with authority at mid-stretch and was unchallenged from there.
"He settled back off a decent pace and just put them away at ease," said Bailey, who won his first Secretariat Stakes and now owns victories in all three of Arlington's Grade I events. "It was an amazing turn of foot. Actually, he got there a little too quick because he did goof around when he made the lead but we can adjust to that."
The victory was the first Grade I score for Kitten's Joy, who sports a seasonal record of five wins from six starts with his only blemish being a second-place finish in the Grade III Jefferson Cup at Churchill Downs in June. With the $240,000 winner's share from the Secretariat's $400,000 purse, his bankroll now stands at $855,911.
"He's gotten a little better with each start and this was his best yet," said winning trainer Dale Romans. "We've been pointing for this race since January. We never really had a plan for after this. We need to find just one race for him between now and the Breeders' Cup."
Greek Sun, the second betting choice in the race who was undefeated in three prior starts, rallied from far back to finish second but was no threat to the winner. He paid $3 and $2.60.
"The plan was to lay off the speed, but when Kitten's Joy made such a strong move I couldn't keep up," said Edgar Prado, who was riding the runner-up for the first time Saturday. "I think I was just on the second best horse today."
Moscow Ballet, finished third, best of the three European-based runners in the Secretariat, and paid $2.80.
American Derby (Grade II) winner Simple Exchange ran fourth, followed by pacesetter Cool Conductor, Hazyview and Up Anchor to complete the order of finish.
Arlington Park -- the Chicago area's premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. -- is running a 96-day meet in 2004 from Friday, May 14 through Sunday, Sept. 19. Arlington Park, whose parent company is Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN), also operates eight off-track, simulcast-wagering facilities: Trackside Arlington Park (Arlington Heights), Trackside Quad City Downs (East Moline), Trackside Chicago, Trackside McHenry, Trackside Rockford, Trackside South Beloit, Trackside Waukegan and Longshots featuring Trackside OTB in South Elgin. Information on Arlington Park can be found online at www.arlingtonpark.com.
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