01/21/2012 5:47PM

Gulfstream Park: Team Valor pair one-two in Kitten's Joy

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Bob Coglianese
Howe Great holds off stablemate Lucky Chappy after opening up an insurmountable lead in upper stretch.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - Trainer Graham Motion and Team Valor International capped off a memorable week after their uncoupled entry of Howe Great and Lucky Chappy finished first and second, respectively, in Saturday’s $100,000 Kitten’s Joy at Gulfstream Park. Motion and Team Valor took down the 3-year-old championship with Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom at Monday’s Eclipse Award ceremonies.

Howe Great led early, then surged well clear of the field once set down through the stretch by jockey Edgar Prado to register an impressive 2 1/2-length victory over his stablemate in the 1 1/16-mile turf race. Longshot Empire Builder finished a tiring third, with Cozzetti a disappointing fourth in a field of seven 3-year-olds.

Howe Great, a son of Hat Trick, registered his second victory in as many starts on grass after opening his career with a win and a second on dirt at Parx. Howe Great had also set the pace to capture a first-level allowance race on the turf here five weeks earlier.

Howe Great completed the distance in 1:40.42 seconds over a firm course and paid $11.40.

“I didn’t feel like he needed to commit to the lead, I don’t think he’s a one-dimensional runner, but it didn’t look on paper like there was much speed in the race,” said Motion. “I knew it would be hard on Chappy, who has a tendency to break slow, like he did in the Breeders’ Cup, to come from off the pace here.”

Motion said it is possible Howe Great or Lucky Chappy could accompany Animal Kingdom to compete on the Dubai World Cup program on March 31.

“There’s a good shot we’ll take one of them to Dubai and with his turf pedigree, Lucky Chappy is more likely to be the one,” said Motion. “There’s also a chance we would try Howe Great again on dirt. We’ll also look at the Palm Beach here later in the meet. We haven’t ruled out anything for either of them at this point.”