03/17/2011 3:09PM

Turfway: Dean's Kitten returns to site of biggest career win for Tejano Run


The annual Turfway Park showcase is right around the corner, and a tangible reminder of that race, the Vinery Racing Spiral Stakes, will be on hand Saturday night at the Florence, Ky., track.

Dean’s Kitten, the colt who won the race last year when it was still known as the Lane’s End Stakes, will be trying for his first victory in the year that has passed when he runs in the $50,000 Tejano Run Stakes.

The Vinery Spiral will be run for the 40th time March 26.

Dean’s Kitten, bred and owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, has run no better than fourth in six starts since his 2 1/2-length triumph in the 2010 Lane’s End, beginning with a 14th-place finish in the Kentucky Derby and ending with his lone start as a 4-year-old, a fifth-place run in a Feb. 26 turf allowance at Gulfstream Park.

Nonetheless, trainer Mike Maker said he believes a return to the Polytrack surface at Turfway, along with what amounts to a drop in class, could make Dean’s Kitten a winner again.

“No, I don’t think he’s a one-hit wonder,” said Maker, who in recent days has been in the process of consolidating much of his far-flung stable back in Kentucky. “He’s been taking on some pretty big guns ever since he won the big race last spring. I think a little class relief could be just what the doctor ordered.”

In his 2011 return at Gulf, Dean’s Kitten was “pretty much blocked the whole race and never got out,” Maker noted. “All in all, it was a good race for him.”

Dean’s Kitten, with Victor Lebron to ride, was assigned post 2 in the Tejano Run, a 1 1/8-mile race that drew eight older horses.

Other contenders include Max Silverhammer, Wealth to Me, and Baryshnikov, the respective one-two-three finishers in the Dust Commander four weeks ago; Mint Chip, a Florida shipper coming out of the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida over the Gulfstream turf; and Oldhamburg, a winner in 2 of 3 starts at Turfway this winter.

First post Saturday is 5:30 p.m. Eastern, with the Tejano Run going at 9:28. First post Vinery Spiral Day reverts to 1:10 p.m.