12/19/2015 6:31PM

Kitten's Dumplings rallies to get up by neck in Blushing K.D.

Amanda Hodges Weir/Hodges Photography
Kitten's Dumplings, ridden by Manny Esquivel, beats Street of Gold by a neck in the Blushing K.D.

NEW ORLEANS - Kitten’s Dumplings had one horse behind her and eight in front of her approaching the half-mile pole in the $60,000 Blushing K D Stakes at Fair Grounds on Saturday, and up on the front end the leaders were cruising along at a snail’s pace. Normally, moving wide and early in a two-turn turf race is a poor choice, but in this case it was the right one for jockey Manny Esquivel with Kitten’s Dumplings.

It helped that Esquivel was on the right horse. Kitten’s Dumplings swept past most of the field without really being asked, breezed up to the leaders at the top of the stretch, and went on to a neck win over Street of Gold. Street of Gold was the one horse behind Kitten’s Dumplings into the far turn, and she followed the winner’s move nicely but could not quite catch her.

“I moved her a little early because the rail was way out there,” said Esquivel, who is wintering here for the first time and won his first Fair Grounds stakes. “She finished up real strong.”

Based with Mike Maker in Florida for owners and breeders Ken and Sarah Ramsey, Kitten’s Dumplings enhanced an already excellent win record, scoring for the eighth time in 20 starts. She has never come close to her career highlight, a win in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup in 2013, but has proven a solid enough listed-stakes type turf mare since returning from a long layoff here about one year ago. She paid $6.20 as the favorite Saturday and ran about 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:46.64. Street of Gold finished 2 1/2 lengths in front of third-place Masquerade, with Zubi Zubi Zu fourth after finding traffic in the homestretch.

Above Fashion home in Letellier

A drop in class from the Grade 3 Delta Princess, in which she had finished a distant third, and a move back to sprints after a pair of two-turn races helped Above Fashion win the $50,000 Letellier Stakes for 2-year-old fillies. Above Fashion stalked the pace on the outside under Colby Hernandez, attacked at the quarter pole, and was clearly best winning by 1 1/4 lengths over Princess Kennedy, who just got up for second over longshot Flashy Appeal.

“That’s exactly how I planned – break, sit off them, and punch home,” said Hernandez. “She has a good little kick.”

Above Fashion, by Paddy O’Prado, won for the third time in eight starts. She ran six furlongs in 1:11.61 off moderate splits 22.36 and 46.28 seconds, and paid $6.40 to win.

“We think she’s a natural sprinter,” said Ron Faucheux, who trains Above Fashion for the Brittlyn Stable, for whom she has made her last three starts after being privately purchased.