10/08/2011 4:09PM

Keeneland: Holiday for Kitten reaffirms affinity for Polytrack in TCA Stakes

Keeneland/Coady Photography
Holiday for Kitten, under substitute jockey Kendrick Carmouche, barely hangs on to win the TCA Stakes.

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Holiday for Kitten failed in her international venture to Royal Ascot in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot this summer, finishing 13th, but on Polytrack at Keeneland this year, she remains perfect.

Racing in the Grade 2, $200,000 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes at Keeneland on Saturday, Holiday for Kitten ($39.60) scored the nose victory over a hard-charging Musical Romance, with the score coming a little less than six months after she won Keeneland’s Giant’s Causeway Stakes in April.

Holiday for Kitten’s victory gave her owners, Ken and Sarah Ramsey, their second major graded stakes victory of this newly begun meet, following Stephanie’s Kitten’s triumph in the opening-day, Grade 1 Alcibiades on Friday.

By winning The Thoroughbred Club of America, a Win and You’re In challenge race, Holiday for Kitten earned an entry-fee paid berth into the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4.

BREEDERS’ CUP CHALLENGE: Racing schedule, replays, and past winners >>

But that race is on seven-furlong race on dirt, a surface on which Holiday For Kitten has never competed. A 3-year-old daughter of Kitten’s Joy, she has raced exclusively on turf and synthetic tracks – which could make the five-furlong Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint against males on the grass a more appealing option on Breeders’ Cup Saturday, Nov. 5.

Winning trainer Wesley Ward did not commit her to a specific race when interviewed in the winner’s circle, saying he would “talk things over with the boss,” Ken Ramsey, Saturday evening.

One thing seemed clear in the Thoroughbred Club of America - Holiday for Kitten was fortunate the race was six furlongs, and not a foot longer. After surging to a clear lead in the stretch after pressing the early pace of Rapport through fractions of 21.96 and 44.61 seconds, she had just enough left in the stretch to outlast Musical Romance, who seemed likely to have caught the winner a stride past the wire.

Switch, the 4-5 favorite, ran third, rallying belated to finish three-quarters of a length farther behind.

The ride on Holiday for Kitten was a pick-up mount for Parx-based rider Kendrick Carmouche, who was at Keeneland for the day. He replaced Julio Garcia, who had been named to ride.

“When I asked her to go home and switch leads, I knew right there I had enough horse to compete,” Carmouche said.

Holiday for Kitten raced six furlongs in 1:08.72 over a Polytrack surface that played quickly.