• TAGG HOPES CAROLINE THOMAS WILL EMULATE MOTHER IN QE II
• HUGHES BACK HOME AS PLETCHER ASSISTANT
• GALLOPING OUT
Ken and Sarah Ramsey earned their second stakes victory of the fall meet when their homebred Kitten Kaboodle broke her maiden with a 4¾-length victory in Wednesday’s JPMorgan Chase Jessamine (G3).
“She’s in good shape,” Baldo Hernandez, assistant to trainer Chad Brown, said Thursday morning. “This filly is coming along really well.”
The JPMorgan Chase Jessamine marked Kitten Kaboodle’s stakes debut in her third career race. She made her first two starts at Saratoga, where she ran second both times, including a runner-up finish to Candy Kitten on Aug. 18. Candy Kitten was fourth in the JPMorgan Chase Jessamine.
Now Kitten Kaboodle is headed to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, as are three other 2-year-olds the Ramseys own. They include Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (G1) winner We Miss Artie, who is trained by Todd Pletcher. First for Kitten Kaboodle is a probably Thursday return trip to Brown’s base at Belmont Park, Hernandez said.
By the Ramseys’ wildly successful stallion, Kitten’s Joy, Kitten Kaboodle is the fourth foal out of the Grand Slam mare Easy Slam. Seventh in the 2005 Darley Alcibiades (G2), Easy Slam was consigned to the 2006 Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale, where the Ramseys purchased her for $45,000.
Trainer Rusty Arnold reported that JPMorgan Chase Jessamine runner-up Zinzay was “a little bit tired this morning, but came back well” after her stakes debut.
“You are always disappointed to lose as the favorite,” Arnold said of Zinzay, who was making her second start. “I was concerned going into the race because she was facing a pretty solid group of fillies.
“She only had the one start and everything went great. She laid second and came on to win. Yesterday she got bumped at the break and bumped in the first turn, but that’s racing. She was clearly second best.”
There is a possibility Zinzay could go to the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) on Nov. 1 at Santa Anita.
“It is the owner’s decision and I will be talking with Richard Hogan (racing manager for Nat Rea’s Regis Racing), who picked her out,” Arnold said. “She has done a lot already, winning her first out and placing second in a Grade 3. If she does not go to the Breeders’ Cup, I’d say she’s done for the year, which I don’t think is a bad thing. I think she will improve as a 3-year-old. She is kind of a slight filly and she will have time to fill out.”
Starlight Racing’s Candy Kitty, who finished fourth, also exited the race in good order according to Byron Hughes, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher. Hughes said the filly would remain at Keeneland for the time being with her next start to be determined.
TAGG HOPES CAROLINE THOMAS WILL EMULATE MOTHER IN QUEEN ELIZABETH II
It is said that success breeds success, and trainer Barclay Tagg hopes that is the case when he saddles Caroline Thomas for Saturday’s 30th running of the $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) for 3-year-old fillies.
Tagg won the race in 2007 with Bit of Whimsy, and Caroline Thomas is Bit of Whimsy’s first foal.
“They are both lovely fillies and they both come from out of it,” Tagg said. “They look alike, too. If you put their pictures next to each other, you could not tell them apart.”
When Bit of Whimsy won in 2007, the daughter of Distorted Humor had won two of five starts and had a Grade 3 victory in the Sands Point on her record. Caroline Thomas, by Giant’s Causeway, has won three of 10 starts with a victory in the Grade 2 Woodford Reserve Lake Placid on her record.
“This is a tough race and she is going to need some luck,” Tagg said. “In a lot of her races, the leaders have been getting away with :50 halves and 1:13 or 1:14 for six furlongs, so she needs a pace to run at.”
Caroline Thomas got that pace in the Lake Placid in which she was ridden for the first time by Rosie Napravnik, who will be back aboard Saturday.
“Rosie is great,” Tagg said. “She can ride for me anytime.”
“I loved the way she ran that day,” Napravnik said. “She got a pace to run at and sat in a good spot for me. I am very eager to ride her back.”
Tagg also has Sure Thing Stables’ Unbelievable Dream here to compete in next Friday’s 23rd running of the $150,000 Pin Oak Valley View (G3) at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.
“She’s been doing very well,” Tagg said of the Kitalpha filly who won the Appalachian (G3) here in the spring.
Third in her most recent start in the Riskaverse at Saratoga, Unbelievable Dream will attempt to become the first filly to sweep the Appalachian and Pin Oak Valley View. With Napravnik up Thursday morning, Unbelievable Dream worked five furlongs around the “dogs” in 1:01.60 with fractions of :12.20, :24.40 and :36.80.
HUGHES BACK HOME AS PLETCHER ASSISTANT
Byron “Scooter” Hughes is well known in Central Kentucky, especially as the trainer of the 9-year-old millionaire Rahystrada, who is expected in the Sycamore (G3) here next Thursday. This fall, Hughes’ 27-year-old son, Byron, is at Keeneland as an assistant to trainer Todd Pletcherr.
“I think Todd likes to send people home when he can,” the younger Hughes said. “He thought it was probably a good spot for me to start because I know Keeneland so well and I have a lot of friends and family here, so it just kind of worked out. I love this place.”
Hughes, who represents the third generation of his family to be involved in the Thoroughbred industry, graduated from Lexington Catholic High School. He tried community college for a semester but knew “it wasn’t for me” and dove full time into the horse business. After working for several smaller trainers in the area, he joined his father’s outfit, sbut the elder Hughes kept pushing him out of the nest.
“He always told me I should work for somebody bigger if I really wanted to succeed and grow in this business,” Hughes said of his father. “That was my comfort zone and I kind of needed to get away from it eventually. I finally decided to go for it and here I am today, so it was a very, very good decision.”
Last year, Hughes sent his resume to Pletcher and interviewed with the trainer at Keeneland, coincidentally in the same barn he is running this October. Pletcher offered him a job, and he spent the winter with the trainer’s string at Palm Meadows in Florida. Hughes was at Saratoga this summer.
“It’s been absolutely great,” Hughes said of the experience with Pletcher. “I started off as a foreman. I thought I knew a lot going into it but I learned a lot immediately when I got there. I continued working hard and they sent me here as an assistant. I couldn’t have picked a better place. Todd is an excellent boss.”
On Oct. 5, Hughes made the boss proud when he sent out Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s We Miss Artie to win the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (G1).
“That was the first time I’ve saddled for a Grade 1 and we won,” Hughes said. “It was amazing. There were a lot of nerves. I wanted everything to go just right and it worked out well and we got the win. It was a good feeling. It was good to come back here and win some races.”
Hughes, who one day would like to go out on his own, said his father is pleased with his progress so far.
“He’s very proud of me,” Hughes said. “I’ve been working really hard for this and he knows that, and he’s glad I got it.”
Jockey James Graham, who won the 2009 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) on Hot Cha Cha, got acquainted with his mount in Saturday’s race when he broke Say (IRE) from the gate and guided her through a half-mile work in :51.20. Say, who finished sixth in last Saturday’s First Lady (G1) against older rivals, was equipped in blinkers for Thursday’s test run under Graham.
“I put the blinkers on her yesterday and I think they will make a difference,” said T.J. Comerford, head traveling lad for trainer Aidan O’Brien. “She will wear them Saturday.” …
Byron Hughes, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher, said Saturday’s Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (G1) winner, We Miss Artie, and Bashart, runner-up in Sunday’s Bourbon (G3), have returned to the track. According to Daily Racing Form, the two colts will depart for California on Monday …
There is an interesting first-time starter in Friday’s sixth race: Seal Six for Casner Racing. Trained by Eoin Harty, Seal Six is a full brother to millionaire Colonel John. As a 3-year-old in 2008, the Harty-trained Colonel John won the Santa Anita Derby (G1) and Travers (G1) and finished sixth in the Kentucky Derby (G1). For his career, Colonel John compiled a record of 15-6-3-1 for earnings of $1,779,012.
“You are always looking for the next good horse,” owner-breeder Bill Casner said. “You have to sort through a bunch to find the elite horses. He is a nice colt and shows promise, but you never know until you put them in the gate and ring the bell.” …
Working on the turf for possible stakes engagements next week were Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint winner To My Valentine (five furlongs in 1:01 under Kent Desormeaux) and Stormin Elle (five furlongs in 1:04). …
Jockey Pablo Morales earned his first Keeneland victory when he rode 16-1 longshot Street Sailing to win the third race Wednesday. A homebred racing for Janet Grube’s Destiny Oaks of Ocala LLC, the 2-year-old Street Boss filly won the one-mile allowance race on turf by 6¼ lengths in 1:37.41. The winner was trained by William Helmbrecht. …
Trainer Aaron Shorter recorded his first Keeneland victory when he sent out Gary K. Tussey’s Peytonville to win the ninth race Wednesday. Marcelino Pedroza rode the 5-year-old Petionville gelding to a half-length win in the 1 1/8-mile race on the main track in 1:50.82.