10/22/2012 2:12PM

Keeneland: Derby Kitten finds cozy spot in Wednesday allowance

Michael Burns
Derby Kitten is eligible for a third-level allowance race on Wednesday despite having won the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland and the Ontario Derby at Woodbine (above).

LEXINGTON, Ky. – It’s not too often that a horse eligible for a third-level condition has two stakes wins to his credit. Derby Kitten is one of those rare breeds, having won a maiden-claiming race, the Coolmore Lexington Stakes, and the Ontario Derby while losing his other 18 starts.

Now comes an opportunity for Derby Kitten, a 4-year-old Ken and Sarah Ramsey homebred, to do something he’s never done – win an allowance race. Derby Kitten is one of six entered in the nominal Wednesday feature at Keeneland, a $56,000 Polytrack race at 1 1/16 miles.

Not unlike his Poly-loving stablemate Stately Victor, who won the 2011 Blue Grass at Keeneland, Derby Kitten has enjoyed his best results on synthetics, having won both of his stakes from just three tries on those surfaces.

“The synthetics seem to be his forte,” trainer Mike Maker said. “The only time he lost on it, in his last race, I thought he was the best horse. He had quite a bit of traffic trouble.”

Derby Kitten was returning from a four-month layoff when he finished third (but was elevated to second by disqualification) in an allowance route over the Tapeta surface at Presque Isle Downs four weeks ago.

“You’d think that race will help toward this one,” Maker said.

Meanwhile, Maker has a lot going on these days. He and his girlfriend, former jockey Rachel Lavoy, have a new boy, Caden, born Sept. 22. At his main base at the Trackside training center in Louisville, he is preparing Joha for a run in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita. And with just four days remaining at the 17-day fall meet, he has dead aim on a second Keeneland training title, having topped the standings at the 2008 fall meet.

“We’ve got plenty to run the last few days,” said Maker, who leads with nine winners heading into this final stretch.

In a similar vein, Julien Leparoux, who has the call from Maker on Derby Kitten, is closing in on another Keeneland riding title, one that would be his ninth from the last 14 meets. Into Wednesday, Leparoux has a commanding lead atop the jockey standings with 18 winners.

Among the five opponents for Derby Kitten, who was assigned post 5, Infrattini looks the most dangerous after romping to a 6 1/4-length score in a second-level allowance five weeks ago at Arlington Park in his first Polytrack attempt. The rest of the field is Wyomia, a filly facing males; Bluedacious, a 3-year-old facing older; Check Your Soul, in a slump since winning the Queen’s Plate Trial more than 16 months ago; and More Than Noble, shipping across town from the Thoroughbred training center.

As race 4, the Wednesday feature goes earlier on the card than normal. Occupying the customary race-8 feature slot, presumably because of its larger field, is a $52,000, first-level turf mile that drew an overflow field of fillies and mares. Likely favorites include Warm Glow, Marlin Mission, and A Time to Love.

First post Wednesday is 1:05 p.m. Eastern.