11/18/2006 12:00AM

Precious Kitten scores for Ramseys

Reed Palmer Photography
Precious Kitten (foreground) holds off J'ray by a neck in Saturday's Grade 3 Mrs. Revere at Churchill Downs.

But the Ramseys were in the Churchill winner's circle sporting their familiar grins late Saturday afternoon after watching Precious Kitten, a half-sister to their Eclipse Award winner Kitten's Joy, gamely hold off J'ray in the desperate final yards of the Grade 2, $170,550 at Churchill.

"Boy, it's great to get off the duck," Ken Ramsey said afterward, employing an oft-used saying for having no wins at a race meet.

Precious Kitten, ridden by Rafael Bejarano, returned $12.40 as third choice in a field of 11 3-year-old fillies. J'ray, ridden by Calvin Borel, delivered a torrid outside run but fell just a neck shy of catching the winner. Quite a Bride, the pacesetter and 9-5 favorite, faded to third, a length behind J'ray and another half-length before May Night.

Precious Kitten, who tracked the pace from a comfortable position before seizing command approaching the furlong pole, finished 1 1/16 miles in 1:45.65 over a firm turf. The victory was her third from 10 overall starts and her first in a graded stakes.

Precious Kitten is an all-Ramsey product. She is by a sire they own, Catienus, out of Kitten's First, the mare who produced Kitten's Joy, the 2004 Eclipse winner for top turf male. The Mrs. Revere marked the first start for Precious Kitten since she was transferred into the Churchill string of Hall of Fame trainer Bobby Frankel. The Ramseys, who have won or tied for the leading owner title at 10 of the last 13 Churchill meets, dispersed more than 40 horses among various trainers following a dispute over finances with Romans several weeks ago.

J'ray, a three-time stakes winner making her second start off a layoff, "really came running," said Michael McCarthy, assistant to her trainer, Todd Pletcher. "That was great to see."