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Arlington Million winner highlights banner day for Ramseys and Kitten’s Joy
By Nicole Russo
Joy Gilbert photo/courtesy Ramsey Farm
Although he is a son of Ramsey Farm flagship stallion Kitten’s Joy, Real Solution lacks the ‘Kitten’ moniker attached to many of the top runners carrying the operation’s red and white silks.
However, he doesn’t lack any of the talent.
“A Kitten by any other name is still a Kitten,” Ken Ramsey said, laughing.
Real Solution highlighted an outstanding day for Ken and Sarah Ramsey by being awarded victory in the Arlington Million via disqualification, as The Apache, who crossed the line first in a photo finish, was ruled to have carried his rival out in the stretch. It was the third Grade 1 victory on the day for the Ramseys, who notched a win earlier on the Arlington Park program with Admiral Kitten in the Secretariat Stakes; and also watched their Big Blue Kitten score his second consecutive Grade 1 victory in the Sword Dancer Invitational at Saratoga. All three colts are homebreds by Kitten’s Joy, the champion turf male of 2004.
“I didn’t know he was going to be the sire he’s turned out to be,” Ken Ramsey, who watched the races at Arlington Park with a lively entourage of family and friends, said of Kitten’s Joy. “He’s standing on the farm. He’s our prize.”
Kitten’s Joy found his own share of success at Arlington, rolling by 3 1/4 lengths in the 2004 Secretariat during a campaign in which he won six graded stakes to earn the divisional Eclipse Award. The homebred son of El Prado finished second to Powerscourt in the 2005 Arlington Million in what would prove to be his final start, and he emerged from the race with a knee injury that forced his retirement. He finished his career with nine wins from 14 starts, only finishing worse than second once – in his career debut on dirt – and bankrolling $2,075,791.
“[The Million] was Kitten’s Joy’s last race – he hurt his knee and he had to be retired,” Ramsey said. “So to have his son come back today and do what he couldn’t do on that particular day is very gratifying.”
Kitten’s Joy finished with three winners on Saturday’s Arlington card, as Ramsey homebred Coalport won the day’s second race, an allowance optional claiming event, prior to the start of stakes action. The Ramseys and Kitten’s Joy had two opportunities following the Arlington Million to pick up what would have been a mind-boggling fourth Grade 1 win in one day when the 3-year-old fillies Emotional Kitten and Kitten’s Dumplings went to post in the Del Mar Oaks in California; they would finish third and fourth, respectively.
Through early evening Saturday, Kitten’s Joy had sired 249 winners, including 38 stakes winners, for total progeny earnings of $24,630,204; his foals average an impressive $73,523. His 14 graded stakes winners include multiple Grade 1 winner Stephanie’s Kitten, who took the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Saturday’s results moved Kitten’s Joy into second place on the 2012 North American general sire list by earnings with $7,384,658, less than $22,000 behind Speightstown.
Real Solution, who began his career in Italy, has now won four of eight career starts. The Arlington Million was his first graded stakes triumph, although he did finish third in the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap at Belmont Park in his prior outing.
The 4-year-old colt, out of the winning Pulpit mare Reachfortheheavens, helped fuel an outstanding day for Pennsylvania-breds. Earlier in the afternoon, Edward Stanco’s homebred Kentucky Oaks winner Princess of Sylmar, also foaled in the Keystone state, recorded a valedictory performance in the Alabama Stakes at Saratoga, her third straight Grade 1 triumph. Although they weren’t represented by an entry in the Alabama, the Ramseys still have a part in Princess of Sylmar’s success, as they bred the filly’s dam, the stakes-placed winning Catienus mare Storm Dixie.
Like Real Solution, Admiral Kitten scored his first graded stakes win in the Secretariat, although the colt had hinted at his talent this season. He entered Saturday off runner-up efforts in the Grade 2 American Turf, Grade 2 Arlington Classic, and Grade 3 American Derby – the latter two over the Arlington turf course. The colt is out of the winning Grand Slam mare Reachforthestars.
Big Blue Kitten, who established himself as a force in the turf division with a win in the Grade 1 United Nations last month at Monmouth Park, validated his credentials with a victory in the Sword Dancer. The colt, who is out of the Unaccounted For mare Spent Gold, is now 10 for 17 lifetime, with wins in four of his last five outings.
Saturday’s Grade 1 heist was the latest in a remarkable string of accomplishments for the Ramseys this season. They earned the leading owner titles at both the Keeneland Race Course and Churchill Downs spring meets, breaking the meet record for wins by an owner at both. Earlier this year, the Ramseys captured the leading owner title at Gulfstream’s competitive winter meet.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey, both natives of Artemus, Ky., bought the historic Almahurst Farm property in Nicholasville, Ky., 1994 and a year later renamed it Ramsey Farm; they have gradually expanded the property to over 1,200 acres and stand Kitten’s Joy there today. Their other top horses bred include Grade 1 winner Precious Kitten and stakes winner Justenuffheart, dam of champion Dreaming of Anna. They also campaigned 2009 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Furthest Land, a former claimer. The couple won the Eclipse Award as the nation's outstanding owner in both 2004 and 2011.