08/17/2013 6:28PM

Saratoga: Bravo guides Big Blue Kitten to Sword Dancer victory

Barbara D. Livingston
Big Blue Kitten, with Joe Bravo aboard, takes the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. -  Jockey Joe Bravo had supreme confidence in Big Blue Kitten coming into Saturday’s $600,000 Sword Dancer Invitational at Saratoga and trainer Chad Brown was equally as confident his rider could work out a trip that would find the entire team posing in the winner’s circle at the conclusion of the Grade 1 turf fixture.

Sure enough, all that confidence translated into a last-to-first victory for Big Blue Kitten, who ran down a game Twilight Eclipse en route to a one-length decision in the 1 1/2-mile Sword Dancer. Nutello ran a big race in his United States debut, finishing another 1 3/4 lengths farther back in third after slipping along the hedge to join for command near midstretch.

[SARATOGA 2013: Complete meet coverage, exclusive DRF videos]

Boisterous, the 9-5 favorite in a full field of 12 long-winded grass specialists, failed to kick on late after a wide trip and finished eighth.

Bravo teamed up with Big Blue Kitten for the first time when the pair finished second behind Boisterous in the Grade 2 Monmouth Stakes on June 9.  He implored  Brown to run Big Blue Kitten back four weeks later over the same course in the United Nations and rewarded his trainer with a perfect rail-skimming effort that earned Big Blue Kitten, a homebred son of Kitten’s Joy, his first Grade 1 win.

Big Blue Kitten settled near the rear of the field in the Sword Dancer while Stormy Lord, his entrymate from the Ken and Sarah Ramsey Stable, set the early pace. Big Blue Kitten was shuffled to the rear of the pack after the opening half-mile,  still appeared to be bottled up in traffic entering the stretch, but finished full of run once Bravo found a seam near the eighth pole to readily run down Twilight Eclipse and win going away. Twilight Eclipse sat a perfect trip just off the early leaders, moved to the lead once settling into the stretch, fended off a bid from Nutello, but proved no match for the winner.

Big Blue Kitten completed 12 furlongs in 2:26.46 over the firm course and paid $7.90.

“I just left it up to Joe,” said Brown. “He’s had so much confidence in this horse since the first time he rode him. He really talked me into running him in the U.N., and I was super confident bringing him up here to keep him on this horse. In the paddock, he said ‘I just love this horse. I’ll work the trip out,’ and he did.”

Brown acknowledged the help Big Blue Kitten received from Stormy Lord, who is trained by Mike Maker.

“Mr. Ramsey’s other horse did set the pace and I’m appreciative of that,” said Brown. “Another trainer, Mike Maker, helped us out. We’re all a team, and Joe did the rest. He got in a little trouble at the quarter pole. How he got out of it, I don’t know, but he did.”

Brown said he will likely run Big Blue Kitten once more before the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

Trainer Tom Albertrani said he was proud of Twilight Eclipse’s effort in defeat.

“He made a good effort. We’ll just have to regroup and try him back again the next time,” said Albertrani. “We got a great trip. He was in the right spot. The other one was just a little better than us today.”



Tee Jay More than 1 year ago
Joe won the race carrying the horse? "What a great ride, he gave a great ride"... But what about his ride - the horse? There's an old sayin', "No hoof, no horse". How many "great" riders ride a horse with bad feet and expect to get their picture taken? But can't they do anything with any hayburner because they are like magicians on the racetrack? Yecchh!...sorry, just startin' to choke up a bit on my hay...new shoes are buggin' me too. You gotta be good at something to get to the top of anything, so the best riders go where the best purses are which is exactly where the best agents are. Oh and the best horses just happen to be there too. No hoof, no ride. If there is no hoof, then there are no agents. And if there are no sharp-eyed agents, then your hero doesn't get to ride the best horse for the course in New York on a certain Saturday in August. The rider just about blew it...they gave him the rabbit and he just about got tangled up in the bramble patch. "Whew"..there's some racing luck to go along with the good horse, the good agent and the guy ridning him, what's her name?
TEDK215 More than 1 year ago
the Ramseys decision to use the 1a as the rabbit worked like a charm! as for Joe Bravos waiting in the wings move..........BRAVO Joe! you seem to be ageing like fine wine!
IHAnother More than 1 year ago
Andy Serling is a welcome relief from most racing personalities - because he has a strong personality on air, not mouthing the same old cliches. I disagreed with him on the Sword Dancer. My numbers had Joe and the Kitten on top. Couldn't understand Andy's reasoning for not liking the horse. So what if he had to run better - he was an improving horse in the hands of the hottest grass trainer right now, the Chad man, and the horse therefore had every right to continue improving.
David More than 1 year ago
Andy Serling is a gentleman that does a lot of work and is a top notch handicapper, so if he doesn't like a horse on a particular day, so what, its horse racing. You win some and you lose some.
Mike More than 1 year ago
little andy said the horse had no chance
mikey More than 1 year ago
aH AH AH AH IS THAT WHAT ANDY SAID, You can get rich betting horses he hates.
Michael Infurna More than 1 year ago
Nobody better than Joe on the weeds!!
mikey More than 1 year ago
Wonder if Ramsey would have let him ride if Joel was in town.Ramsey had a day that he deserves and can only dream of.
richard cowles More than 1 year ago
The way this reads is were all a team?so maker and brown are ateam?how come they were not coupled? more crap
rdeeps52 More than 1 year ago
Then everybody complains that they're coupled. Somebody's complaining either way. In this case its you
tim More than 1 year ago
They were coupled
zkid9914 More than 1 year ago
they were.
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
Jer Zeee Joe!
chad mc rory More than 1 year ago
If we see a pattern of Rabbits setting up winners then it's gonna detract from quality.
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
He looked best to me who can complain for Pace everyone had there shot
MJP More than 1 year ago
Dopey Andy Serling still "doesn't get it", News Bulletin, Bravo is vastly superior to every regular NY rider. Obviously.
BigAfan More than 1 year ago
You must be on drugs.
Rob Yetman More than 1 year ago
If Bravo is so good, why is he still stuck at Monmouth for the summer?
David More than 1 year ago
He has owned Monmouth for years and gets the pick of the litter daily, why go anywhere else. When it comes to turf racing anywhere Jersey Joe Bravo is in a class all by himself.
Matthew Ellis More than 1 year ago
Don't understand why LIL Andy didn't like this horse He had a rough day IT HAPPENS
mikey More than 1 year ago
Bravo is good but no in the top 20 jocks in the game.He is not the top guy at monmouth any more.
Frank Kulcsar More than 1 year ago