09/14/2012 2:45PM

Louisiana Downs: Always Kitten pointing to Breeders' Cup

Louis Hodges Jr.
Happy Ticket winner Always Kitten will point for the Jessamine at Keeneland and then hopefully move on to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita.

Always Kitten has a clear objective this fall: the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.

“That’s what we’re pointing for,” said Mike Maker, who trains Always Kitten for Ken and Sarah Ramsey.

Always Kitten moved closer to that goal last weekend at Louisiana Downs, when she won her maiden in the $100,000 Happy Ticket. She rallied from 10 lengths off the pace under jockey Mike Smith, to win by a length and a half as the favorite. It was Always Kitten’s second start following a second-place finish in a maiden special weight at a mile and a sixteenth on turf at Saratoga on Aug. 19.

“I don’t think she has any distance limitations,” said Maker. “She’s a nice, solid filly.”

Maker said the next step toward the goal of making the BC will come at Keeneland. He said Always Kitten is being pointed for the Grade 3, $150,000 Jessamine on Oct. 11. The race is a Win and You’re In for the Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Always Kitten, who is based in Kentucky, is a daughter of the Ramseys’ turf champion, Kitten’s Joy.

Maker could invade this region again later this month. He said Morgan’s Guerrilla is possible for the $400,000 Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park on Sept. 30. Morgan’s Guerilla was third in the Grade 2 Dwyer at Belmont Park in his last start June 30. He also ran second in the Grade 3 Illinois Derby in April.

Sprinter to Keeneland or Remington

Amanecer de Oro, who is arguably the top sprinter stabled at Louisiana Downs, will make his next start at either Keeneland or Remington Park, said his trainer, Steven Duke. The horse is to run next in either the Grade 3, $175,000 Phoenix at Keeneland on Oct. 5 or the $200,000 Remington Park Sprint Championship on Sept. 30.

“We’re 50-50,” said Duke. “If I had to guess, I’d say Remington Park.”

Amanecer de Oro won the fourth stakes race of his career in last month’s $60,000 Louisiana Cup Sprint at Louisiana Downs, with a career-high Beyer Figure of 96. He races for Northpointe Thoroughbreds. Other stakes wins for the horse include the $100,000 Louisiana Champions Day Sprint at Fair Grounds in December, and the $100,000 Louisiana Legends Sprint at Evangeline Downs in June.

Duke said he is debating taking three to four horses to Keeneland for the fall meet. He also plans to have a division of horses at Fair Grounds.

Burress released from hospital

Jockey Beverly Burress avoided serious injury when thrown from her mount in the 10th race Thursday at Louisiana Downs, but due to soreness she most likely won’t resume riding until next Friday, said her agent, Gary Duhon.

Burress was taken to a local hospital for X-rays on her shoulders and hip after the spill in which her mount, favorite Irmasue, broke down. The images came back negative, said Duhon.

“Everything’s okay,” he said. “She didn’t break anything. She’s just real sore. She’s not going to ride the rest of this week, and may be back up for Friday.”

Burress ranks 10th in the standings, with 27 wins from 311 starts for mount earnings of $318,302.

Yankee Gentleman filly sells for $70K

A yearling daughter of Yankee Gentleman brought a bid of $70,000 from Set-Hut LLC to top the inaugural Equine Sales of Louisiana auction in Opelousas, La., on Sept. 5. In all, 152 yearlings were sold for a total of $1,268,700, or an average of $8,347, according to figures from the auction house. There were 112 horses that did not sell. The median was $4,200. Thomas Farm consigned the sales-topper, a Louisiana-bred half-sister to two-time Louisiana Champions Day Sprint winner Flashy Wise Cat.

◗ Jockey Kevin Smith, a 33-year-old native of St. Martinville, La., had an unforgettable day at the races Sept. 9 at Louisiana Downs. He had a four-bagger notable for the prices some of the horses paid. Smith won the second with I’majonesgirltoo ($51), the third with My Three Girls ($19.20), the eighth with Tough Madame ($8.60), and the 10th with Market Charger ($134). Following the meet, Smith will ride at Delta Downs, said his Louisiana Downs-based agent, Rob Roberson.

◗ Dr. Craig Schwartz was named person of the year during the annual Backside Benevolence Fund charity banquet put on by the Louisiana Downs chaplaincy program Sept. 5. The trainer of the year was Bob Schultz; the jockey of the year was Chris Rosier; and the assistant trainer of the year was Louis Barbazon, according to chaplain Jimmy Sistrunk.

◗ Fate’s Right Hand, the runner-up in last month’s $75,000 Louisiana Cup Derby, leads the featured sixth race Friday at Louisiana Downs. He is a full brother to stakes winners Zarb’s Ballerina and Lady Zarbridge, and is a candidate for the $70,000 Sam’s Town at Delta on Nov. 17, said his co-owner and trainer, Robby Robinson.

◗ Stall applications for the Oaklawn meet that opens in January are due Oct. 25.

◗ Quickerthanuthink won the fifth race Thursday at Louisiana Downs and paid a colossal $177.60.