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Arlington Park

Arlington International Festival of Racing Notes (8/9/15)

Contact: Michael Adolphson

In today's notes:


Light on seasoning and big on promise, Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Granny’s Kitten comes into the Grade I $450,000 Secretariat Stakes on Arlington Million Day with every reason to move forward for connections who won the race with Admiral Kitten two years ago. Like said winner, Granny’s Kitten is a Mike Maker-trained son of Secretariat winner Kitten’s Joy.

“We are going to take a crack at the Secretariat,” Ken Ramsey said. “We have his full brother, who is a beautiful specimen, selling at the sale in France a week later and are really hoping a victory will help him be a million-dollar yearling.”

Out of the Grand Slam mare Granny Franny, the Pennsylvania-bred homebred is a full-brother to Grade I-winning filly Kitten’s Dumplings, whose signature victory was in the Grade I $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup in 2013. Granny Franny, herself, was a talented but lightly raced allowance winner for Maker and the Ramseys.

After debuting with a flourish in July 2014, winning by 4 1/4 lengths in a six-furlong grass dash, the bay colt did not return until May 10 at Churchill Downs and did not disappoint when wiring a first-level allowance. Impressively, it was not only his first race in 10 months, but also was at 1 1/8-miles – a tall order that he took with aplomb when coming home in a spritely 1:48.81.

Dropped down in trip to a mile to compete in the Grade III $500,000 Penn Mile just 20 days later at Penn National, a tough trip resulted in a narrow three-quarter-length loss to expected Secretariat favorite Force the Pass. That Richard Santulli-owned and Alan Goldberg-trained colt returned to Grade I $1,250,000 on July 4 – a race in which Granny’s Kitten stalked and then failed to deliver, giving the first poor showing of his four-race career.

“He was sick after the race, so it is obvious that he wasn’t 100 percent,” Ramsey explained. “I drew a line through it. When they’re sick the day after, it definitely affected their performance. He’s a better horse than that and we are giving him a chance to show it.”


The $50,000-added Bruce Duchossois Memorial on the Million Day undercard is likely to draw one of the more impressive maiden breakers this meet in owner-trainer Hugh Robertson’s Nite of the Hunter.

A 14 1/4-length winner going a flat mile at Arlington on June 27, the son of burgeoning sire Temple City finally showed the talent he had revealed in traces in races prior. He returned three weeks later to finish a game, albeit wide, third in allowance optional claiming company on the grass July 16.

The Duchossois Memorial will be contested at the same one-turn mile as Nite of the Hunter’s sole victory and is restricted to 3-year-olds. In previous years, it was known as the Straight Line Stakes.


William Stiritz’s Shogood will be aimed at the Grade III $100,000 Arlington-Washington Futurity on Aug. 22, according to trainer Scott Becker. One of the most impressive maiden winners at the meet, the son of Nobiz Like Shobiz graduated by 7 3/4 lengths on July 16 in gate-to-wire fashion under Chris Emigh in absolutely facile fashion.

One race prior, the bay colt debuted in a sharp runner-up performance behind Olly Tait’s homebred Mike Stidham trainee The Zip Zip Man on June 19. The Zip Zip Man would go on to finish a half-length second in the $125,000 Colin Stakes at Woodbine on July 25. Shogood, on the other hand, was sold by owner Sharon Morgan out of the John Wainwright barn to Stiritz.

According to racing officials, The Zip Zip Man is also under consideration for the Arlington-Washington Futurity. At seven furlongs on the main Polytrack, the race was won last year by Doubledown Stables’ Illinois-bred champion 2-year-old Recount, who has won two stakes since for trainer Jimmy DiVito.


Sam Britt and Michael House’s Gabriel Charles is now out of the Grade I $1,000,000 Arlington Million after being rushed into emergency colic surgery on Saturday afternoon at San Luis Rey Equine Clinic. Trained by Jeff Mullins, the son of Street Hero had been pre-entered in the Million just 2 days prior.

A Grade I winner last out when impressively taking the $400,000 Eddie Read Stakes at Del Mar, Gabriel Charles was expected to go to post as one of the possible favorites based on his recent form.


Trainer Chris Block’s talented fillies Giant Deduction and Prado’s Sweet Ride worked five furlongs on the grass Sunday morning, six days out from when each are expected to compete in the Grade III $100,000 Pucker Up Stakes on Arlington Million Day, Aug. 15. The pair worked in 1:01.60.

Giant Deduction, a half-sister to three graded stakes winners, including Pucker Up winner Leading Astray, was a sharp winner on debut on July 2 for owner Team Block, who also bred the daughter of Giant’s Causeway. She returned three weeks later to finish third while moving belatedly in allowance company against older fillies and mares.

Prado’s Sweet Ride, who may be the best 3-year-old in Block’s barn of either sex, has won four of six and exits a smart win in the Grade III $100,000 Regret Stakes at Churchill Downs on June 13. Like her stablemate, she broke her maiden on this course.

- END -

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