01/19/2012 6:05PM

Gulfstream: Cozzetti returns to turf for Kitten's Joy

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – There are two sons of Kitten’s Joy amongst the eight 3-year-olds entered in Saturday’s $100,000 Kitten’s Joy Stakes at Gulfstream Park. But it is an offspring of another prolific turf sire, Cozzene, who may prove the one to beat in the 1 1/16-mile race formerly known as the Hallandale Beach.

Cozzetti, by Cozzene out of the Lemon Drop Kid mare Lemon Drop Cello, returns to grass for his 3-year-old debut after journeying across country to finish eighth in the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity over the Hollywood Park Cushion Track on Dec. 17. Cozzetti, who won his maiden by five lengths over a sloppy track at Churchill Downs, tried grass twice with modest results to open his career.

“I thought he might have chased a fast pace a little bit and it compromised his finish out in California,” said Dale Romans, who trains Cozzetti for the Albaugh Family Stable. “But he ran a fast figure so the race might have been better for him on paper than it appears.”

Cozzetti has worked twice over the local turf course since returning from the West Coast, going five furlongs in 59 seconds on Jan. 8 and the same distance in 59.43 in impressive fashion last Sunday.

“If he runs like he’s training he should be competitive,” said Romans. “His last work was spectacular. I think he’s a special horse. If he runs like I expect him to Saturday we’ll plot a course for him after that. We’ll have a lot of different options.” Lucky Chappy, who began his career winning 2 of 3 starts in Italy, is strictly the horse to beat. An Irish-bred son of High Chaparral, Lucky Chappy has not started since finishing fourth, beaten just 3 1/2 lengths, despite a slow start and wide trip in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. Trained by Graham Motion for Team Valor International, Lucky Chappy rallied from the rear of the pack to finish third in Keeneland’s Grade 3 Bourbon in his U.S. debut.

Motion and Team Valor will also send out Howe Great, who will likely control the pace coming off a wire-to-wire, 1 1/2- length allowance win making his grass debut here on Dec. 15.

Argentine Tango was disqualified in a somewhat controversial decision from an apparent last-to-first allowance victory over the local course on Dec. 26. He returned against similar opposition just 13 days later and failed to duplicate the effort, finishing sixth after laying a little closer to the early pace.

Empire Builder and Scorcher will represent Kitten’s Joy in the race named in his honor. Empire Builder finished a ground- saving sixth in the Dania Beach in his 2-year-old finale. Scorcher won his maiden in his local debut and was claimed out of the race for $35,000 by his present connections on Dec. 26.

Kitten's Joy S., Post Time: 4:45 ET Saturday

Purse: $100,000; 1 1/16 mile (T)

Post

Horse

Trainer

Jockey

ML Odds

1

Italo

W. Ward

J. Sanchez

4-1

1

Argentine Tango

S. Gold

R. Maragh

8-1

1

El Romano

M. Azpurua

J. Leyva

10-1

1

Howe Great

H. Motion

E. Prado

5-1

1

Lucky Chappy (IRE)

H. Motion

J. Castellano

9-5

1

Cozzetti

D. Romans

J. Leparoux

6-1

1

Empire Builder

L. Duco

A. Gallardo

6-1

1

Scorcher

J. Garoffalo

J. Rocco, Jr.

15-1