08/19/2005 11:00PM

Kitten's Joy to pass the Arc and run in Hirsch


SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Kitten's Joy will not contest the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe as his connections had been planning for months, and instead will make his next start in the $750,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont Park on Oct. 1.

The Joe Hirsch will be Kitten's Joy's final prep for the $2 million Breeders' Cup Turf at Belmont on Oct. 29. Owner Ken Ramsey still plans to send Kitten's Joy to Japan for the Japan Cup on Nov. 27.

Ramsey announced his decision to skip the Arc, which will be run Oct. 2 at Longchamp, through the New York Racing Association press office late Saturday afternoon. Ramsey and trainer Dale Romans made the decision after talking to several horsemen, including trainer Patrick Biancone, who is well-versed in French racing.

"If I had my choice of running in the Arc de Triomphe or the Breeders' Cup I would have preferred the Arc because it is a challenge," Ramsey's statement read. "I talked with Jerry Bailey, who rode Kitten's Joy on soft turf, and Edgar Prado, who rode him on firm and yielding turf. It is the opinion of the professionals that he is a better horse on firm turf, and if we were to go to Paris, there is an 80 percent chance of the course being good, yielding, soft, or even heavy."

Ramsey continued, "Then, I started thinking that if we went over there, we would have to get a French jockey, no medication, have him run on an up and down course. Then factor in the trip over, quarantine, and the trip back, and he would be a knocked-out horse for Japan."

Kitten's Joy finished second as the favorite in last year's Breeders' Cup Turf, but won six stakes - including the Joe Hirsch - and was named champion male turf horse of 2004. Kitten's Joy had a chip taken out of his knee after his 2004 campaign and has come back to win the Firecracker Handicap and finish second in the Arlington Million.