07/06/2013 6:47PM

Monmouth Park: Big Blue Kitten blasts home in United Nations

Big Blue Kitten #2 with Joe Bravo riding, wins the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes.
Big Blue Kitten, with Joe Bravo riding, wins the Grade 1 United Nations Stakes.

OCEANPORT, N.J. - Joe Bravo felt he was little unlucky with Big Blue Kitten in the Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes last month, shaking clear a tad too late to catch Boisterous.

This time Big Blue Kitten got the big prize, the Grade 1, $525,000 United Nations Stakes on Saturday at Monmouth Park.

Big Blue Kitten drove through a narrow opening on the rail to blow past a tiring Little Mike a furlong from the wire and outgame Teaks North by 1 1/4 lengths in New Jersey’s premier turf race. The United Nations is a Breeders' Cup Win and You're In race, securing the winner a berth in the BC Turf.

[BREEDERS' CUP CHALLENGE: Win and You’re In schedule and results]

“The horse was sitting comfortable the whole race underneath me,” Bravo said. “Look what he did turning for home. He got up underneath me and he exploded. If I knew him a little bit better, the results might have been a little bit different the last time. I had a good shot to win that one too.”

Little Mike, the 8-5 favorite, was making his first start in the United States following a pair of stakes in Dubai. Last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf winner, he was sharp and eager, blasting right to the front with Joel Rosario aboard.

Skyring, the Grade 2 Dixie Stakes winner last time out, sat right behind the leader as Big Blue Kitten took a spot near the back of the pack.

Approaching the final turn of the 1 3/8-mile race, Skyring and jockey Gary Stevens took the race to Little Mike.

Skyring could not get past the leader, but he left Little Mike vulnerable.

Meanwhile, Bravo and Big Blue Kitten were making their move up the rail. Bravo had to wait briefly for an opening. When it materialized, Big Blue Kitten blasted through.

“Another memorable ride from Joe Bravo,” said trainer Chad Brown by phone from Belmont Park. “This was one for the highlight reel. After the last race, Joe really sold me on giving the United Nations some consideration. I spoke to Joe this morning and pretty much left it up to him.”

Meanwhile, Teaks North, the 2011 United Nations winner, also launched a bid, moving to Little Mike’s outside. He came on strong, but suffered his first loss in five races at Monmouth.
Teaks North is cataloged to sell at the inaugural Fasig-Tipton Kentucky summer selected horses of racing age auction on July 15 in Lexington Kentucky.

Hangover Kid, a 47-1 outsider got third as Little Mike finished fourth.

“I was very proud of his race today,” said Dale Romans, Little Mike’s trainer. “I was really happy to see how willing he was today. In Dubai, he never really picked up his feet. Today, you could tell he was back to his old self.”

Romans said Little Mike will be pointed to the Arlington Million, one of three Grade 1 stakes he won last year.

Willcox Inn was fifth followed by Skyring, Harrods Creek and Russian Greek.

Big Blue Kitten, a 5-year-old homebred for Ken and Sarah Ramsey, won for the ninth time in 16 starts. This was his second graded win to go along with the 2011 Grade 2 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame Stakes. He paid $7 to win as the 5-2 second choice.

The time was 2:11.98.