07/05/2015 7:41PM

Big Blue Kitten caps huge weekend for Brown with United Nations win

Email
Bill Denver/Equi-Photo
Big Blue Kitten wins the United Nations Stakes on Sunday at Monmouth Park.

OCEANPORT, N.J. – Trainer Chad Brown capped off a huge holiday weekend  by winning the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park with Big Blue Kitten for the second time in three years. For good measure, he finished second with his other horse in the race, Slumber.

Last time out, Slumber won the Grade 1 Manhattan at Belmont Park, while Big Blue Kitten rallied from last to finish second in the 1 1/4-mile race.

Earlier Sunday, Brown won the River Memories Stakes at Belmont Park with Goldy Espony. On Saturday, Brown won the $1 million Belmont Oaks Invitational with Lady Eli, and on Friday, he won the Belmont feature, the Perfect Sting Stakes, with Daring Kathy.

Big Blue Kitten got an assist in the 1 3/8-mile United Nations from Shining Copper, whom owner Ken Ramsey sent in from Kentucky to act as a pacesetter for Big Blue Kitten. Ramsey claimed Shining Copper for $62,000 at Churchill Downs on May 31. He is trained by Mike Maker.

"A little extra distance is always better for this horse, and he got the pace he needs today," Brown said. "He worked as a team with Mr. Ramsey's other horse, who Mike Maker was good enough to send in. Mr. Ramsey doesn't make too many wrong decisions."

Shining Copper opened up a lengthy early lead under Abel Castellano Jr., setting fractions of 23.88 seconds, 47.58, 1:11.84, and 1:35.89. He held on well in the stretch to finish fourth, beaten only a neck and a nose for second.

Big Blue kitten was seventh in the nine-horse field early, moved up three wide on the third turn, then finished fast to take the lead from his tag-team partner in midstretch and win by 1 1/2 lengths under Joe Bravo.

Bravo now has won the United Nations three of the last four years. Main Sequence, who failed to fire and finished seventh Sunday, won the race last year. Bravo won the race on Big Blue Kitten in 2013 and on Turbo Compressor, trained by Todd Pletcher, in 2012.

"He was really on his game today," Bravo said. "He's getting better with age. He's a pretty fun horse to ride."

Big Blue Kitten, a 7-year-old son of Kitten's Joy, now has won 13 of 27 career starts and went over $2 million in earnings by winning Sunday's $535,000 race.

Brown said the two races most likely for Big Blue Kitten's next start are the Grade 2, $250,000 Bowling Green at 1 3/8 miles Aug. 1 at Saratoga or the Arlington Million at 1 1/4 miles Aug. 15.

The disappointment in the race was the 8-5 favorite Main Sequence, who was making his first start since finishing seventh in the $6 million Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan on March 28.

Main Sequence was a bit tough in the paddock and appeared to be a little hot before the race.

Jockey Rajiv Maragh had him in good position early, but Main Sequence failed to come up with his usual late move.

"Everything was going real smoothly," Maragh said. "He just didn't put in his run."

"It's a long year," trainer Graham Motion said. "He just didn't give us his usual kick today."

Big Blue Kitten paid $10.80 as the second choice and was timed in 2:11.82.

Slumber, who is owned by Michael Dubb and partners, was second, a neck in front of Twilight Eclipse, who steadied in tight quarters along the inner rail while trying to launch his bid into the stretch.

California shipper Ashleyluvssugar raced closest to the pacesetter early but tired to finish sixth.