11/04/2017 12:45PM

Kitten's Roar prevails in Goldikova Stakes

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Barbara D. Livingston
Kitten's Roar and jockey John Velazquez win the Goldikova Stakes by 2 1/4 lengths.

DEL MAR, Calif. – With much of the crowd still filing through the entrance gates, Kitten’s Roar got a perfect trip under John Velazquez to win the Grade 2, $200,000 Goldikova as Breeders’ Cup Saturday got under way with the first of 12 races at Del Mar.

Fourth down the backstretch in the one-mile turf race, Kitten’s Roar tipped outside and quickly took command in upper stretch, surging away to win by 2 1/4 lengths over Thundering Sky, who held second by a nose over On Leave.

A full field of 14 fillies and mares left their starting gates at the inordinately early time of 10:11 a.m. Pacific, with Malibu Stacy being prompted by Sassy Little Lila on the front end. Kitten’s Roar, the slight 3-1 favorite after finishing second in the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor in her latest, maintained good position from the start, then asserted her class in the final quarter-mile after deftly angling out.

Owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trained by Mike Maker, Kitten’s Roar ran in the Goldikova after being excluded as one of two also-eligibles from the BC Filly and Mare Turf later on the Saturday card. The 5-year-old daughter of Kitten’s Joy returned $8.20 after finishing in 1:35.18 over firm going.

The $2 exacta (7-4) paid $129.60, the $1 trifecta (7-4-1) returned $208.40, and the 10-cent superfecta (7-4-1-3) was worth $425.33.

The nine Breeders’ Cup Saturday events were set as races 4-12. The Goldikova, named for the three-time winner (2008-10) of the BC Mile, was the first of three preceding non-Breeders’ Cup stakes on a day that unfolded with perfect weather in store.