04/14/2011 11:52AM

Golden Gate: Our Curious Kitten tries surface she is bred for in Golden Poppy


If for no other reason than four of the six members or the field are making their turf debuts and the other two will be making only their second turf starts, Saturday’s $75,000 Golden Poppy at 1 1/16 miles on the turf at Golden Gate Fields figures to be a wide-open event.

The stakes winner Alec’s Moon is the most accomplished horse in the field of 3-year-old fillies, but one of the entrants who has never run on turf, Our Curious Kitten, is bred for the grass and figures to improve on the surface. Her sire, Kitten’s Joy, was champion turf horse of 2004, when he won two Grade 1 stakes and finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. Her dam, Karen Sue’s Cat, scored her lone victory on the turf.

Trainer Sergio Ledesma is approaching our Curious Kitten’s turf debut cautiously, because she has never been on the surface.

“I hope she likes it,” Ledesma said. “I wish I’d had a chance to try her on the turf before this race.”

Although Ledesma calls his filly is a “trier,” he says she is small and “doesn’t show a lot in the morning.”

She has shown enough in the afternoons, however, to put together a record of 3 wins and 2 seconds in 5 starts. She won her debut for a $32,000 tag and then won a $40,000 starter allowance. She ran third in her first two starts around two turns before notching a first-level allowance win last time.

Because Our Curious Kitten is an Illinois-bred, she isn’t eligible for any of the races for California-breds, which makes it harder for Ledesma to find a suitable spot for her. If she takes to grass, it will open up new avenues for her.

“We’re going to give her a try [on turf],” Ledesma said.

Seismic Speed, who graduated at one mile on the turf last November, and Windy Sails, second in an April 3 allowance race, are the only two of the 3-year-old fillies in the field with turf experience.

Alec’s Moon, who has won the Portland Meadows Oaks and Portland Meadows Derby in her past two starts, is the only stakes winner in the field. Justenufappeal, who has hit the board in all five career starts, was second in the Golden Gate Debutante as a 2-year-old.

Alec’s Moon comes into the race sharp and has scored wins in both her starts around two turns. Her dam was a Grade 1 stakes-placed runner on the turf who has produced the stakes winner Ayla Bella and the Group 2-placed Jobed.

All nine of Justenufappeal’s siblings are winners, including turf stakes winner Dr Park.

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