Updated on 09/17/2011 2:18PM

Kitten's Joy best in Secretariat

Email
David Zenner
Kitten's Joy wins the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes by 3 1/4-lengths at Arlington Park on Saturday.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Kitten's Joy showed Saturday that he might not only be the best 3-year-old turf horse in North America, but quite possibly the best turf horse, period.

In a rousing performance that surely pleased his many backers in the Arlington Park crowd of 30,414, Kitten's Joy ran off to a 3 1/4-length victory in the Grade 1 , finishing in faster time than what older horses took 90 minutes earlier in the Arlington Million. He returned $3.80 with his seventh victory from eight career turf starts.

Kitten's Joy finished the 1 1/4-mile Secretariat in 1:59.65 over a firm turf course. It took Powerscourt, the first-place finisher in the Million, 2:00.08 to cover the same distance.

"It looks like we may have run him in the wrong race," said a laughing Ken Ramsey, who owns Kitten's Joy with his wife, Sarah.

In the last of three International Festival events, Cool Conductor ran off to a sizable lead down the backstretch of the $400,000 Secretariat. But by midway through the far turn, several others were making good ground on front-runner, most notably Kitten's Joy, who was kept well out onto the turf course by jockey Jerry Bailey.

Down the stretch, Kitten's Joy used his powerful kick to pull away. Greek Sun, previously unbeaten in three starts, finished second, 1 1/4 lengths before Moscow Ballet in a field of seven 3-year-olds.

"He's gotten a little bit better every race," said winning trainer Dale Romans. "Down the backside, I was a little concerned because he didn't look like he was handling the ground all that well. But once Jerry swung him, he really started rolling."

For Ramsey and Romans, the Grade 1 victory as their second in eight days, following Roses In May in the Aug. 7 Whitney Handicap at Saratoga. "I told somebody when we won that I hope I have this much fun when I get to heaven," said Ramsey.

Romans, who turned 38 Saturday, said Kitten's Joy likely would have one more race before running in the Oct. 30 Breeders' Cup Turf at Lone Star Park.

Kitten's Joy capped a Festival pick 3 that paid $324 for $1. Crimson Palace and Kicken Kris were the first two legs. Handle was $225,541.

Greek Sun, the 5-2 second choice, ended a $2 exacta worth $10.

* One race earlier, Silver Zipper ($12.40) caught favored Apt to Be in the final yards of the $53,000 Cigar Stakes, giving jockey Rene Douglas his third win of the 12-race card. Silver Zipper is trained by Hugh Robertson for Owen Hulse.