11/01/2014 5:23PM

Bobby's Kitten up in time in BC Turf Sprint

Tom Keyser
Bobby's Kitten, with Joel Rosario aboard, wins the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint on Saturday.

ARCADIA, Calif. – For a year, Bobby’s Kitten has been a source of lingering frustration for trainer Chad Brown, the memories of a third-place finish in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita proving difficult to forget.

The aggravation is over. Bobby Kitten’s more than redeemed himself with an electrifying win in Saturday’s $920,000 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita.

“It took a full year to get over it,” Brown said.

Starting in the shortest race of his career, Bobby’s Kitten won his most prestigious race, closing from last in a field of 14 under jockey Joel Rosario to take the lead in the final strides of the BC Turf Sprint.

Bobby’s Kitten won by a half-length over No Nay Never, who led in deep stretch. Undrafted closed from 11th to finish third, a nose behind No Nay Never. No Nay Never and Undrafted are trained by Wesley Ward.

Owned by breeders Ken and Sarah Ramsey, Bobby’s Kitten ($16.40) ran about 6 1/2 furlongs on the hillside turf course in 1:12.73.

Brown said he began thinking of a start in the BC Turf Sprint in recent weeks after Bobby’s Kitten finished third in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile on Sept. 14. Rosario was aboard for that race, in which Bobby’s Kitten lost by 2 1/4 lengths to Trade Storm after relinquishing the lead in the final sixteenth.

Bobby’s Kitten was pre-entered for the BC Mile and Turf Sprint, but Brown and Ken Ramsey were more intrigued by the Turf Sprint.

“We decided, let’s cut back in distance, and maybe he won’t fight the rider,” Brown said.

Rosario had Bobby’s Kitten at the back of the field early, well behind Reneesgotzip, who led by 3 1/2 lengths after an opening quarter-mile in 21.69 seconds. Rosario said he was trying to select the right path for Bobby’s Kitten.

“He broke fine,” Rosario said. “I was having a little trouble. A couple of horses were in his way. I was trying to figure out where I wanted to be.”

Bobby’s Kitten was last when the field approached the crossing from the hillside turf course to the main turf course. Staying wide, Bobby’s Kitten was 12th with a furlong remaining.

“I let everyone go and came around,” Rosario said. “He showed a good turn of foot, and he ran a great race.”

Even though Bobby’s Kitten was well off the pace, he caught the eye in the last sixteenth, reaching the front just in time with a wide move. 

Jockey Frankie Dettori thought he would win aboard No Nay Never, the 7-2 favorite who was always near the front.

“If he had been closer to me, I might have found a bit,” Dettori said. “He was so wide. I used [Reneesgotzip] as a marker. I hit the front in the last sixteenth, and I got mugged on the line.”

Undrafted finished a neck in front of Ageless, who was followed by Sweet Swap, Tightend Touchdown, Ambitious Brew, Caspar Netscher, Reneesgotzip, Something Extra, Home Run Kitten, Dimension, Marchman, and Silentio.

It was not until the field reached the crossing that Brown understood Rosario’s strategy.

“I was worried until halfway through the race, trying to figure out what he would do,” he said.
Bobby’s Kitten, who is by the Ramseys’ sire Kitten’s Joy, has won 5 of 11 starts and earned $1,294,916. The BC Turf Sprint was the colt’s third stakes win, preceded by the Grade 3 Pilgrim Stakes at Belmont Park in October 2013 and the Penn Mile for 3-year-olds on turf at Penn National in May.

In the 2013 BC Juvenile Turf, Bobby’s Kitten set a fast pace and faded as the 6-5 favorite. Brown considered Bobby’s Kitten to be one of his best hopes for the 2013 Breeders’ Cup races. The colt turned out to be a star a year later.