09/22/2016 8:28AM

Turf champion Big Blue Kitten retired

Michael Amoruso
Big Blue Kitten wins the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont Park last year.

Last year's champion turf male Big Blue Kitten, winless this year, has been retired and will take up stud duties in 2017 at Brad Kelley's Calumet Farm.

The 8-year-old son of Kitten's Joy concludes his career with a record of 33-14-8-5 and earnings of $2,983,350. He spent the majority of his career racing in the colors of breeders Ken and Sarah Ramsey, then made three starts this year for Calumet, which had earlier acquired his stallion rights. He was trained throughout his career by Chad Brown.

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After making the first three starts of his career in claiming company, Big Blue Kitten swiftly rose through the ranks, winning or placing in 18 stakes.

Big Blue Kitten earned the 2015 Eclipse Award as outstanding turf male. His signature victory last year came in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont Park. He established a course record of 2:23.39 for the 1 1/2 miles. He also posted a repeat victory in the Grade 1 United Nations at Monmouth, an event he had also won in 2013, and took the Grade 3 Fort Marcy Stakes at Belmont. He posted Grade 1 seconds in the Arlington Million and Manhattan Stakes, and was third in the Breeders' Cup Turf, to be the top-placed American.

Big Blue Kitten's other major victories include the Grade 1 Sword Dancer Invitational in 2013 and the Grade 2 National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame Stakes in 2011, both at Saratoga.