01/06/2016 1:42PM

2015 Eclipse Awards: Stephanie's Kitten

Barbara D. Livingston
Stephanie’s Kitten lost the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Santa Anita by 1 1/4 lengths to Dayatthespa. For the win, Dayatthespa won the Eclipse Award as the nation’s outstanding turf female. Stephanie’s Kitten was a finalist. Stephanie’s Kitten might earn the same title for her efforts in 2015.

Stephanie’s Kitten won the BC Filly and Mare Turf at Keeneland on Oct. 31, making her a finalist for the Eclipse Award for the female turf division in 2015. She was a millionaire and a three-time stakes winner for the season. With a little luck, the 6-year-old mare might have had an even better year.

Owned by breeders Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trained by Chad Brown, Stephanie’s Kitten won stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, Belmont Park, and Keeneland. She finished third in the Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington Park in August but was promoted to second when Secret Gesture was demoted from first for causing interference in the final furlong.

Stephanie’s Kitten was raced sparingly in 2015, winning half of her six starts. Through the year, the goal was the BC Filly and Mare Turf at Keeneland.

The season began with a win in the Grade 3 Hillsborough Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in March, followed by a three-month break. The late spring and early summer did not go as planned. Stephanie’s Kitten finished fourth as the 3-10 favorite in the Grade 2 New York Stakes at Belmont Park on June 5 and fifth after a wide trip as the 2-1 favorite in the Grade 1 Diana Stakes at Saratoga on July 25.

She was a leading contender in the Beverly D. and was beaten 1 1/2 lengths by Secret Gesture. Stephanie’s Kitten did not lose again.

In the Grade 1 Flower Bowl Invitational at Belmont Park on Oct. 3, Stephanie’s Kitten was always near the front and won by 1 1/2 lengths, taking the prestigious race for the second consecutive year.

Despite the victory, Stephanie’s Kitten was 7-1 in a field of 10 in the BC Filly and Mare Turf, overshadowed by Legatissimo, a heavy favorite from Ireland. Stephanie’s Kitten was last with three furlongs to go and rallied between runners to lead in the final furlong. Legatissimo finished second.

After the race, Brown praised the Ramseys for keeping Stephanie’s Kitten in training in 2015.

“They deserve a lot of credit because they had a chance to sell her last year,” he said. “They brought her back and raced her as a 6-year-old, which isn’t a popular thing to do. They were rewarded.”

Stephanie’s Kitten had an eventful few days after the Breeders’ Cup. She was offered the following evening at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky fall mixed sale but failed to meet her reserve of $3 million. A day later, a private deal was reached between the Ramsey family and Northern Farm of Japan in a $2.8 million transaction.