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Kentucky Derby and Horse Racing at The Downey Profile®

Charming Kitten the One to Beat in Palm Beach


Charming Kitten, impressive winning Gulfstream Park's Kitten’s Joy Stakes, will likely be favored in Sunday’s Grade III Palm Beach Stakes.

John R. Velazquez will be back aboard Charming Kitten for Todd Pletcher in the field of 11. A Kentucky homebred belonging to Ken and Sarah Ramsey, Charming Kitten finished a troubled second as the favorite in the Dania Beach Stakes over Gulfstream turf course on Dec. 15.

In three starts last year, Charming Kitten won his debut on turf at Saratoga, finished third in the Grade II With Anticipation Stakes and was ninth in Keeneland's Grade I Breeders’ Futurity, beaten 4 1/4 lengths.

Charming Kitten is by the Ramseys’ 2004 Eclipse champion turf runner Kitten’s Joy, who won the Palm Beach early that year under Jerry Bailey.

Ramsey could be tempted to try to get Charming Kitten to the Kentucky Derby, but he's likely to consult Velazquez first.

“We considered trying to go to the Derby with Kitten’s Joy," Ramsey said. "Jerry Bailey was riding him early that year, and he said ‘He just doesn’t have the same kick on dirt,' and recommended keeping him on turf. It turned out to be good advice.

“The Derby is very much on my bucket list and we’ll see how he does in the race Sunday and discuss the possibilities with Todd. We’ll do what’s right for the horse.”

The Ramseys also entered their homebred Amen Kitten, also a son of Kitten’s Joy. Trained by Wesley Ward, Amen’s Kitten broke his maiden last out over the local turf course on Jan. 11 in his seventh start.

Making his stakes debut and expected to attract plenty of support will be Rydilluc, with Edgar Prado on a return call for trainer Gary Contessa.

A son of Medaglia d’Oro purchased for $150,000, Rydilluc was very impressive winning an entry level allowance at Gulfstream by 5 3/4 lengths under Prado on Jan. 5. He broke his maiden on turf at Aqueduct on Nov. 25 after a fifth-place main track debut sprinting at Belmont Park in mid-October.

“The Palm Beach has been the long-range plan for him for about two months,” said Contessa. “He has trained fantastic this winter, and Edgar is very high on him. In fact, he’s gotten in his car and driven up to Palm Meadows to be on him every time he’s worked.

“He trained so good on dirt before his first start, I thought he’d gallop, but he never even got involved. Then we said, ‘Maybe he’s a turf horse,’ and he was very impressive winning his second start. However, we still haven’t ruled out anything and he still could be on the Derby Trail. If things go well in the Palm Beach we’ll consider the Spiral Stakes 20 days later, and I wouldn’t rule out the Blue Grass as a back-up.”

Dewey Square is in the Palm Beach as expected, with leading Gulfstream jockey Javier Castellano named to ride for Dale Romans, who has three entered.      

Dewey Square was on the dirt trail to the Derby when he made his 3-year-old debut in the Grade III Holy Bull Stakes on Jan. 26. But he was never a factor, and Romans said afterward that the colt resented kickback. Romans later reiterated his faith in Dewey Square as a top prospect but altered his schedule. A good effort on Sunday could send Dewey Square to the Grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes.

Romans also sends out Summit County with Corey Lanerie named to ride. The son of Any Given Saturday finished sixth in the Kitten’s Joy after an allowance victory over the course on Dec. 19. Summit County set the pace for six furlongs in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf before tiring to twelfth, beaten 11 lengths.

Holiday Star, a gelding, appears to be hitting his best stride coming into the Palm Beach with Joe Rocco, Jr. in the saddle for Graham Motion. The son of Harlan’s Holiday has won his last two starts on turf since arriving in South Florida for the winter, breaking his maiden at Tampa Bay Downs in mid-December and scoring in an allowance race over the Gulfstream course on Jan. 26.

Completing the field for the Palm Beach are Saturday Special, Luis Saez; Squall King, Jose Lezcano; Dad’z Laugh, Paco Lopez; Reporting Star, Eduardo Nunez and Quinzieme Monarque, Joel Rosario.

Edited Gulfstream Park release

Sunday, R10
Grade III Palm Beach Stakes
Gulfstream Park
1 1/8 Mile
Post Time: 5:35 ET

Post   Horse ML Jockey Wt Trainer
1 Saturday Special (KY) 20-1 L. Saez 116 J. Pinchin
2 Squall King (KY) 15-1 J. Lezcano 116 D. Romans
3 Dad'z Laugh (FL) 15-1 P. Lopez 116 D. Chaparro
4 Dewey Square (KY) 6-1 J. Castellano 116 D. Romans
5 Rydilluc (KY) 4-1 E. Prado 116 G. Contessa
6 Reporting Star (FL) 10-1 E. Nunez 116 K. O'Connell
7 Quinzieme Monarque (KY) 8-1 J. Rosario 116 T. Albertrani
8 Amen Kitten (IL) 20-1 E. Trujillo 116 W. Ward
9 Charming Kitten (KY) 8-5 J. Velazquez 120 T. Pletcher
10 Holiday Star (PA) 12-1 R. Rocco Jr. 116 G. Motion
11 Summit County (PA) 12-1 C. Lanerie 116 D. Romans

All run with Lasix except 7 Quinzieme Monarque.

Owners: 1 - Christian D. Maingot and Jose Pinchin ; 2 - Donegal Racing ; 3 - A. Bianco Holding ; 4 - Siena Farms LLC ; 5 - Team Stallion Racing Stable, Shay, S., Green, L., Harold Lerner LLC et al. ; 6 - Gilbert G. Campbell ; 7 - John M. B. O'Connor ; 8 - Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Ramsey ; 9 - Kenneth L. and Sarah K. Ramsey ; 10 - Augustin Stable ; 11 - Siena Farms LLC

Breeders: 1 - Sun Valley Farm; 2 - Jerry Crawford; 3 - Gilbert G. Campbell; 4 - Siena Farms LLC; 5 - Hill 'n' Dale Equine Holdings, Inc. &Gaines-Gentry Thoroughbreds, LLC; 6 - Gilbert G. Campbell; 7 - Anastasie Christiansen-Croy; 8 - Kenneth L. Ramsey & Sarah K. Ramsey; 9 - Kenneth L. Ramsey & Sarah K. Ramsey; 10 - George Strawbridge Jr.; 11 - Siena Farms LLC

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