10/07/2011 7:05PM

Keeneland: Stephanie's Kitten takes Alcibiades at 9-1

Keeneland/Coady Photography
Stephanie's Kitten (left), with John Velazquez riding, wins the Darley Alcibiades by 1 1/2 lengths.

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Ken Ramsey was laughing and grinning. Imagine that. Ramsey had just watched his homebred 2-year-old filly, Stephanie's Kitten, roll to a 1 1/2-length victory Friday in the $400,000 Darley Alcibiades Stakes, the traditional Grade 1 opener of the Keeneland fall meet, and he just couldn't contain his elation.

Ramsey was in midsentence when he was cut him off from further conversation over the public address system. No biggie. Ramsey, a perennial leading owner on the Kentucky circuit who has enjoyed tremendous success throughout much of North America and beyond as an owner and breeder, went on to talk his customary blue streak to reporters and onlookers regarding Stephanie's Kitten, a daughter of the prolific sire Kitten's Joy.

"The stud fee for Kitten's Joy just went up again," Ramsey laughed.

Stephanie's Kitten, a 9-1 shot trained by Wayne Catalano and ridden by John Velazquez, led a parade of longshots to the wire in the Alcibiades, a 1 1/16-mile race that had 13 starters. Ninth for much of the way, she began picking off rivals leaving the backstretch before surging past 17-1 shot Heart of Destiny in deep stretch to finish in 1:43.12 over Polytrack. Putthebabiesdown, another 17-1 shot, was third, while Frolic's Revenge was fourth at 22-1. Tu Endie Wei, the 2-1 favorite, was shuffled back and never entered serious contention, finishing seventh.

Stephanie's Kitten returned $21.60 as fourth choice when notching her second victory from four starts. Based in Chicago with Catalano through the summer, she had most recently finished third when shipping to Canada for the Grade 3 Summer Stakes.

"Mr. Ramsey told me I was riding a really good one today," said Velazquez. "She really showed that."

The Alcibiades offered a fees-paid Win and You're In berth to the Nov. 4 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs, a race that Ramsey said he most likely will opt for.

BREEDERS' CUP CHALLENGE: Racing schedule, replays, and past winners »

The top three finishers all were coming off turf routes, whereas the top three favorites - Tu Endie Wei, Egg Drop, and And Why Not - were entered off sprints on synthetic or dirt.

Predictably, the mutuel prices were huge: $315.60 for a $2 exacta (7-11), $1,999.70 for a $1 trifecta (7-11-1), and $2,638.74 for a 10-cent superfecta (7-11-1-10).

The 60th Alcibiades anchored a 10-race opening-day program that also included the Grade 3 Phoenix, which New Zealand-bred Hoofit won by a nose over Aikenite.

Velazquez rode an earlier winner on the card and narrowly missed the Phoenix aboard Aikenite, while Julien Leparoux had four wins to take the early lead in his quest for a seventh Keeneland riding title.

Ontrack attendance on a postcard-perfect afternoon was 19,026, which Keeneland reported as a record for an opening Friday at a fall meet.