11/08/2012 5:20PM

Retama Park: El Joven, La Senorita highlight meet's biggest night


A week after winning the Breeders’ Cup Classic aboard Fort Larned, jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. will be at Retama Park near San Antonio on Saturday night to ride in the meet’s two most important stakes, the $75,000 El Joven and the $75,000 La Senorita.

“He had given us the call before he became big-time,” quipped trainer Michael Stidham, who will send out Every Way in the La Senorita.

Hernandez’s other mount on the night will be aboard Texas Bling in the El Joven. Both races are for 2-year-olds at a mile on turf, with the La Senorita restricted to fillies. The program also includes the $50,000 Texas Hall of Fame Stakes led by reigning Texas-bred of the Year, Skip a Smile. Together, the races make for the biggest card of the Retama meet.

Every Way is part of a 12-horse field in the La Senorita. She comes into the race off a third-place finish to Spring Venture in the Grade 3 Mazarine at Woodbine on Oct. 6. Prior to that race, Every Way won a maiden special weight at a mile on turf at Arlington Park on Aug. 25.

“She showed us some talent and class right off the bat,” said Stidham, who trains Every Way for Steven Perlick, Alan Herman, Richard Dunn, and the Haynes Stables operation of John Adger.

Stidham said Adger mentioned the La Senorita as a next-race option for Every Way.

“John is a big supporter of Texas racing,” said Stidham. “He thought it would be a good spot to try and get a stakes win on her record, coming out of that last Grade 3 in Canada.”

Every Way will add blinkers after finishing third in the Mazarine, 1 1/2 lengths behind Spring Venture.

“She seemed a little intimidated when she got in tight last time,” Stidham said, “and kind of sucked back a little bit early in the race and came running on again in the end. We worked her in blinkers, and she worked better in them, so we’ll try them on her for the race.”

Hernandez, who has worked Every Way, has the mount from post 11.

Kitten’s Dumplings, who was fourth to Spring Venture in the Grade 2 Natalma at Woodbine in September, has shipped to town for much the same reason as Every Way.

“We want to try to make her a stakes winner,” said Mike Maker, who trains Kitten’s Dumplings for Ken and Sarah Ramsey.

Kitten’s Dumplings won her debut in a maiden special weight at a mile and a sixteenth on turf at Saratoga on Aug. 12. In her most recent start, she finished 11th in the Grade 1 Alcibiades on Polytrack at Keeneland on Oct. 5.

“She fell down leaving the gate, really never got into it,” Maker said of the Alcibiades. “I don’t know what she did when she stumbled, but she was never comfortable after that.”

Victor Lebron has the mount from post 5.

The Ramseys won last year’s La Senorita with Sisterhood and the 2009 running with Lisa’s Kitten.

In the El Joven, Maker will start Admiral Kitten on behalf of the Ramseys, who won the race in 2009 with Kera’s Kitten. Admiral Kitten has made one start, winning his debut in a $50,000 maiden claiming race at a mile and a sixteenth on Polytrack at Keeneland on Oct. 5. He will test his skills on turf for the first time Saturday and there are reasons to believe he will handle the surface well, said Maker.

“Obviously he’s a Kitten’s Joy,” he said of the horse’s sire, who was a turf champion for the Ramseys. “And I like that he ran well on the Polytrack, which should transfer over to the turf. He’s a big, developing horse and I think this is a good spot for him.”

Admiral Kitten is to be ridden by Lebron.

◗ Retama will induct six individuals into the Texas Hall of Fame in a gala before the races. The new members are: Bill Casner, Allen and Jeanette Moehrig, T.I. “Pops” Harkins, Valid Expectations, and Kool Kue Baby.