10/19/2009 11:00PM

Pair of Kittens use Retama for Cup tryout


Trainer Mike Maker has shipped a promising pair of 2-year-olds to Retama Park near San Antonio for Saturday night's set of $100,000 turf races, and with the right kind of performance, Kera's Kitten and Lisa's Kitten could develop into candidates for the Breeders' Cup.

"Both of them would be if they run exceptionally well," Maker said Tuesday.

Kera's Kitten will be trying out for next month's $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf when he runs in Saturday night's El Joven at a mile on turf. Lisa's Kitten is on deck for Retama's filly counterpart, the La Senorita, which will serve as her audition for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Julien Leparoux is to ride both horses Saturday.

Kera's Kitten and Lisa's Kitten race for their breeders, Ken and Sarah Ramsey, and are offspring of the Ramsey's champion turf horse Kitten's Joy. The horses arrived Tuesday morning from Louisville, and they will be supplemented for $6,000 each to their respective race on Saturday.

"We have a lot of nice 2-year-olds by Kitten's Joy, and we try to take advantage of every grass opportunity we can," said Maker.

Lisa's Kitten was set to run Oct. 15 in the $150,000 Jessamine at Keeneland, but was scratched from the race, which was taken off the turf and moved to the main track. She enters the La Senorita off a Sept. 25 maiden special weight win at 1 1/16 miles on turf at Belmont Park.

Kera's Kitten also won his maiden in his last start, when he led throughout in a six-furlong sprint over the Kentucky Downs course Sept. 21. Maker noted the horse is a half-brother to Talent Search, a multiple stakes winner of $603,360.

"We've always kind of had a lot of high expectations for him," Maker said of Kera's Kitten.

James Leatherman, the racing secretary at Retama Park, said both the El Joven and La Senorita are shaping up as competitive races. Entries will be taken Thursday, and additional shippers are expected from such high-percentage trainers as Steve Asmussen, Bret Calhoun, Allen Milligan, and Al Stall Jr.

Stoney Gold may try Delta Mile

Stoney Gold ran one of the best races of his career last week at Delta Downs, when he dueled his way to a neck win in the $60,000 Zydeco on opening night. It was the first stakes win for the horse, and he equaled his best Beyer Speed Figure, a 93.

"He's 5 now, but he seems like he's still developing, so that's a good thing," said Pamela Simpson, who co-owns and trains Stoney Gold. "It does appear to me that he's better now than he's ever been."

Simpson on Tuesday was just starting to look into her next-race options for Stoney Gold, whose long-term goal is the $100,000 Premier Night Sprint at Delta on Feb. 6. Before then, there are a number of races to sort through. Stoney Gold is a winner at two turns, and because of that and the fact that he handles Delta well, he will be considered for a start in the $125,000 Delta Mile on Dec. 4, said Simpson.

Stoney Gold and Sparkling Diamond, who was second in the $60,000 Mademoiselle at Delta the same night as the Zydeco, are among the top horses Simpson has in her care. Both shipped into Delta from Louisiana Downs, which has remained open as a training center since its meet closed Oct. 4.

"We're going to be running in and out of [Delta] quite a lot," said Simpson, whose 25-horse stable is based at Louisiana Downs.

Simpson tied for fourth in the standings during the Louisiana Downs meet, winning 24 races from 121 starters. She also is in the midst of the best year of her career, with a personal high of 30 wins and $499,514 in stable earnings so far in 2009.

* Taffy Davenport, a stakes-placed mare by Miswaki believed to be in foal to Grade 3 winner Ide, brought a bid of $6,000 from Hay Hallow Racing Stable to top the 2009 mixed auction put on last Saturday by the Breeders Sales Company of Louisiana. In all, 95 horses sold for an average of $1,027.