05/31/2014 7:58PM

Bobby's Kitten much the best in Penn Mile

B&D Photography
Bobby's Kitten completes back-to-back stakes victories for jockey Javier Castellano and trainer Chad Brown by taking the $500,000 Penn Mile.

Trainer Chad Brown won two of the four six-figure stakes races Saturday night at Penn National when Bobby’s Kitten scored sharply in the $500,000 Penn Mile and Last Gunfighter slogged his way to a narrow victory in the $200,000 Mountainview Handicap.

Bobby’s Kitten defeated Global View by 2 ¾ lengths, with Storming Inti a nose better than Divine Oath two lengths behind the place horse.

The second edition of the Penn Mile was won on the first turn when Bobby’s Kitten relaxed under a keen hold from Javier Castellano and let 124-1 shot Sing the Dream lead through a moderate pace.

Bobby’s Kitten at times has been his own worst enemy, tugging hard early in his races and sapping precious energy before the finish. But Saturday night he responded to Castellano’s firm but gentle commands, letting Sing the Dream go a half-mile in a tepid 48.02 seconds while racing second in the clear. Leaning into the far turn, Castellano decided he had waited long enough, and once given his cue, Bobby’s Kitten inhaled he hapless pacemaker. He rushed to the front, took a clear lead into the homestretch, passed the stretch call more than three lengths in front, and easily held off a solid rally from Global View. With a final quarter-mile in 23.58 seconds, Bobby’s Kitten went one mile on turf rated good but playing more like firm in 1:35.82. He paid $4.60 to win.

“I thought Javier rated him very well,” Brown said.

Bred and owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, and a son of the Ramseys’ stallion Kitten’s Joy, Bobby’s Kitten won for the fourth time in seven starts while running his turf record to 6-4-0-2. Bobby’s Kitten had thrown a clunker in his most recent start, the Blue Grass Stakes, while making his first start on a synthetic surface.

“He prefers turf,” said Brown.

Bobby’s Kitten might act like a middle distance horse, with all the speed he shows, but Brown said he thinks he can go farther, and said he would stretch out Bobby’s Kitten for his next start. An obvious spot would be the $1.25 million Belmont Derby Invitational over 1 ¼ miles on July 5.

Given the slow pace, Global View ran well to finish second one race after a rallying win in the Grade 2 American Turf. Divine Oath, closing even later than Global View, also finished with good energy to just miss third behind Storming Inti.

Last Gunfighter survives in Mountainview

Last Gunfighter needed a desperate last-second surge to win the $200,000 Mountainview Handicap by the slimmest of margins over pacesetting Valid, and then had to survive a stewards’ inquiry and jockey’s objection from Jorge Vargas Jr. on fourth-place Arlo.

Vargas, trying to bring his 42-1 shot between Last Gunfighter and Valid in deep stretch, claimed Castellano had interfered with his mount, but, if anything, it was Valid who had drifted out under heavy left-handed pressure, and in the end, the stewards let the results stand. Valid finished three-quarters of a length in front of Sailor’s Revenge, with Arlo fourth by the same margin.

Golden Ticket was an early scratch from the race, and during the warm-up period, Taptowne was scratched by the stewards on the advice of the track veterinarian, and the subtraction of that serious pace player compromised Last Gunfighter. Rail-drawn Valid, pressed by Percussion, set a moderate pace, going a quarter in 23.80 and a half in 47.92, and as the field hit the far turn, Last Gunfighter was sent four wide by Castellano. Losing ground the entire turn, Last Gunfighter, racing for the first time since November, ran on determinedly but at one pace in the homestretch, just getting to a hard-driven Valid before the finish.

“He’s a real fighter,” Brown said. “He hadn’t run in a while, needed the race, but he really battled down to the wire. I’m proud of him.”

Bred and owned by John Gunther, Last Gunfighter, a son of First Samurai, won for the ninth time in 16 starts while capturing his seventh stakes race. His winning time for 1 1/8 miles on a fast track was 1:50.55, and Last Gunfighter paid $3.40 to win.