11/05/2014 2:58PM

Kitten's Point finds softer spot

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Barbara D. Livingston
Kitten’s Point (left), finishing second to Centre Court in the Honey Fox in April, could run in the Grade 1 Matriarch on Nov. 30 with a good race Friday.

Kitten’s Point had a tough assignment when she returned from a layoff of nearly six months in early October. She was a 13-1 shot in the Grade 1 First Lady Stakes at Keeneland and finished seventh of nine.

“That was probably a bit ambitious,” trainer Graham Motion said last weekend.

Kitten’s Point should have an easier job on Friday in the $75,000 Kathryn Crosby Stakes at a mile on turf for fillies and mares at Del Mar. If Kitten’s Point runs well, she could start in another Grade 1 – the $300,000 Matriarch Stakes at a mile on turf for females here on Nov. 30.

:: DEL MAR OPENING DAY: Get PPs, watch Friday's card live

Friday’s program at Del Mar is the opening day of the track’s 15-day autumn meeting, which runs through Nov. 30. The Kathryn Crosby Stakes is restricted to fillies and mares who have not won a stakes worth $50,000 or more at a mile or over since April 1, except for statebred races. The race drew 14, but will have 12 starters, leaving Dutchessa and Zilber on the also-eligible list.

KEY CONTENDERS

Kitten’s Point (Last 3 Beyers: 92-88-94)

◗ Owned by George Strawbridge, Kitten’s Point won the Grade 3 Herescomesthebride Stakes at Gulfstream Park in 2013. Her best race this year was in the Grade 2 Honey Fox Stakes at Gulfstream Park in March when she finished second by a nose.

◗ She was rested after finishing seventh in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley Stakes at Keeneland.

“She had some hind-end issues,” Motion said. “She was a disappointment in the Jenny Wiley.”

◗ Motion, who won the Breeders’ Cup Turf last Saturday with Main Sequence, said Kitten’s Point’s layoff should work in her favor.

“She’s a fresh horse, too,” he said.

Kathleen Rose (Last 3 Beyers: 82-85-86)

◗ Kathleen Rose will play a pivotal role in the Kathryn Crosby as the expected pacesetter.

◗ Trained by Mike Machowsky, Kathleen Rose has been favored in her last two starts, a third-place finish in the Solana Beach Handicap for California-breds at Del Mar in August, and when second in the restricted Swingtime Stakes at a mile on turf at Santa Anita on Oct. 4. In both races, she led into the stretch.

Bee Brave (Last 3 Beyers: 90-84-71)

◗ Bee Brave won an allowance race at 1 1/16 miles on turf at Del Mar in August, and was a troubled fifth in the Grade 1 Rodeo Drive Stakes at 1 1/4 miles on turf at Santa Anita on Sept. 27.

“She would have been third with a better trip,” trainer Simon Callaghan said.

◗ Callaghan said the Crosby distance is a bit short for Bee Brave, a three-time winner.

“She’s pretty versatile,” he said. “I’d probably prefer if it were a mile and a sixteenth to a mile and an eighth.”

Wishing Gate (Last 3 Beyers: 90-93-81)

◗ Wishing Gate has not started since the Del Mar summer meeting when she finished second in the Grade 2 John Mabee and sixth in the Grade 2 Yellow Ribbon Stakes on Sept. 1.

◗ Trained by Tom Proctor, Wishing Gate will likely race near the front.

◗ She is winless in five starts, all stakes, since a win in the Grade 3 Autumn Miss Stakes at Santa Anita in October 2013.