01/21/2017 9:01PM

Granny's Kitten by a neck in Col. E.R. Bradley

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Lou Hodges Jr.
Granny's Kitten, with Miguel Mena aboard, wins the Grade 3 Col. E.R. Bradley on Saturday.

NEW ORLEANS – Granny’s Kitten won his career debut back in July 2014 by more than four lengths and his second start by more than two. He seemed like a horse who, given circumstances under which he could win, would slam the door on the opposition.

Nothing could be further from the truth. 

Granny’s Kitten won for the sixth time on Saturday, taking the Grade 3, $125,000 Col. E.R. Bradley. The margin of victory was a neck, and Granny’s Kitten has won four times since that second career win by less than three-quarters of a length combined – two necks and two noses.

Granny’s Kitten got a dream run under Miguel Mena, stalking the stablemates Western Reserve and Chocolate Ride. He jumped on the pacesetters at the top of the stretch but didn’t make the lead until the eighth pole and never firmly put Western Reserve away.

“It was tough to go by those two,” Mena said. “They’re very good horses.”

Maybe that was part of it. Or maybe Granny’s Kitten just has gotten into the habit of cutting things close.

In any case, Granny’s Kitten, a 5-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy and the Grand Slam mare Granny Franny, won for the sixth time in 18 starts while pushing his bankroll to more than $400,000 for his breeders and owners, Ken and Sarah Ramsey. Granny’s Kitten, who tracked in third behind splits of 23.77 seconds and 48.80, ran about 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.61 with the rail set at 20 feet on a course labeled “soft” that probably was closer to “good.”

Western Reserve, the winner of the Buddy Diliberto Memorial here last month, fought on gamely for second for trainer Brad Cox, but the Cox-trained favorite, Chocolate Ride, gave way late and was 2 1/2 lengths behind Western Reserve. Jockey Florent Geroux said his mount might not have been entirely happy on turf with moisture in it, but there seems little doubt that Chocolate Ride has lost a step or two from his peak.

Kitten’s Roar by a nostril in Marie Krantz

Mena, the Ramseys, and trainer Mike Maker swept the Saturday turf stakes when Kitten’s Roar prevailed by a nose over longshot Prado’s Sweet Ride in the $75,000 Marie Krantz later on the card.

Kitten’s Roar raced from second behind pacesetter Dynazar through a slow half-mile in 49.17 seconds, took command in upper stretch, and was very fortunate to win a head bob over Prado’s Sweet Ride, who was finishing best on the outside.

Cambodia, who had trouble into the first turn and had to dive inside for her stretch run, finished third in her stakes debut, 1 1/4 lengths out of second. Cash Control, the 7-5 favorite, did not get an ideal trip either but lacked her typical punch and checked in fourth, ahead only of Dynazar. Seven horses, including morning-line favorite I’m a Chatterbox, were scratched.

Kitten’s Roar, beaten a head last month in the Blushing K. D. Stakes by Cash Control, is a 5-year-old mare by Kitten’s Joy out of the War Chant mare Bambolina. She was bred in Kentucky by Dapple Bloodstock and ran her career record to 12-5-6-1 while winning her first stakes. She was timed in 1:44.92 over a course rated “soft” but probably closer to “good” and paid $5.80 to win.