09/22/2012 2:48PM

Presque Isle: Derby Kitten fresh and ready, Maker says

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Derby Kitten has been freshened and is ready to take on seven other foes in a third-level optional claiming event at Presque Isle Downs on Tuesday evening, according to trainer Mike Maker.

“He is doing very well,” Maker said. “He had a nice work last week.”

Derby Kitten has not been out since May 26, when he finished last in the Grade 3 Louisville Handicap at Churchill Downs going 1 1/2 miles on turf. Maker decided to give Derby Kitten time off after that race, which kept him winless in five races this year.

“There wasn’t anything physically wrong with him, we just wanted to give him some time to relax and freshen up.” Maker said.

A Ken and Sarah Ramsey homebred son of Kitten’s Joy, Derby Kitten had a nice 3-year-old season last year, winning 3 of 10 races and earning over $285,000.He won both the Grade 3 Lexington at Keeneland and the $158,000 Ontario Derby at Woodbine. Both were over a synthetic surface, a fact not lost on Maker when he sent Derby Kitten to Presque Isle to run over the Tapeta surface.

“I wouldn’t call him a synthetic specialist yet,” he said. “We are just trying to keep his win record over the surface intact and see how it goes as he gets older.”

There is an abundance of speed in the one mile and 70-yard event, a scenario that should unfold well for Derby Kitten.

“He is never in a hurry early, so the plan will be for him to come running late and go by them.” Maker said.

Scott Spieth will ride for the first time

Bluedacious will try to make it three in a row locally, all for trainer Tim Hamm. The 3-year-old Bluedacious won July 3 at 1 1/6 miles after coming to Hamm’s barn from trainer Mark Casse. In his most recent out, Bluedacious won a second-level allowance event going a mile. Pablo Morales retains the mount.

Ryan’s Gift should be on or near the lead after he breaks from post position 3. Trained by Michael Ferraro, Ryan’s Gift has had seconditis locally this season, finishing second in 3 of 4 attempts, including in the Leemat for Pennsylvania-bred horses July 6. David Lopez will ride for the first time. Others in the filed are Cryptolight, More Than Noble, Black Belt, Pyrite Personal and Shellback.