05/18/2013 2:39PM

James W. Murphy Stakes: Redwood Kitten takes them all the way

Barbara D. Livingston
Redwood Kitten, with Joel Rosario riding, scores a front-running victory in the James W. Murphy Stakes at Pimlico.

BALTIMORE – Trainer Wesley Ward and jockey Joel Rosario regularly teamed together long before Rosario became one of the hottest riders in the game, and the pair was at it again Saturday at Pimlico Race Course with Redwood Kitten.

Redwood Kitten turned in a powerful, front-running performance in the $100,000 James W. Murphy, winning the one-mile turf race for 3-year-olds by a length over Shining Copper. It was another three lengths back in third to Notacatbutallama.

Redwood Kitten ($6.80) easily moved to the front soon after the start in the Murphy and took the field through an opening quarter in 24.26 seconds. Behind him, Yougotthatgoinforu stumbled when in tight and lost his rider, Emilio Flores, who was up soon afterward. Red Wings and Wry Me, meanwhile, were pulled up and walked off.

Redwood Kitten continued to lead through a half-mile in 48.74, and six furlongs in 1:11.19. In the stretch, Redwood Kitten had more when challenged by Shining Copper and went on to win on firm turf in 1:35.17.

[PREAKNESS STAKES: Race replays and reactions from Pimlico]

“I thought he’d be sitting second, but he broke so sharp I let him go,” Rosario said. “I let him go on. 

“He put me in the winner’s circle.”

Ward said Redwood Kitten, who he trains for Ken and Sarah Ramsey, would be considered for turf stakes in Virginia and Kentucky. The horse won his first stakes in the Murphy, which came on the heels of his third-place finish in the Grade 3 Transylvania at Keeneland.