10/08/2009 11:00PM

William's Kitten eyeing Breeders' Cup

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ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Although Sunday's Grade 3, $250,000 Grey Stakes over 1 1/16 miles at Woodbine isn't a Win and You're In race for the Breeders' Cup, a strong performance could earn William's Kitten a ticket to Santa Anita.

"We're hoping to get a good race into him there, and then we're on our way to the Breeders' Cup," said trainer Mike Maker, who conditions William's Kitten for Ken and Sarah Ramsey.

A 2-year-old based in Kentucky, William's Kitten is a homebred colt by Kitten's Joy and will be trying a synthetic surface for the first time Sunday.

He made his first three starts over different turf courses. After finishing seventh over five furlongs at Churchill Downs in his debut, William's Kitten won his maiden over one mile at Ellis Park and finished third in a one-mile open allowance race at River Downs.

William's Kitten then traveled to Louisiana Downs for the Sunday Silence on Sept. 19, a 1 1/16-mile race that was scheduled for turf but was contested over the main track. After a sluggish start, he rallied in the stretch and pulled away for a 4 3/4-length win under Garrett Gomez.

"I'd been looking to keep him on turf and was pleasantly surprised by how he handled the dirt down there," said Maker, who will be looking for his first win with his seventh starter at Woodbine. "He ran such a big race that I thought the race at Woodbine might be a good spot for him."

Maker said he isn't concerned that William's Kitten has not run or worked over a synthetic surface.

"If they handle the turf and handle the dirt, Polytrack's not really a big concern," he said.

With William's Kitten already proven on turf, his performance here could give him another option on Breeders' Cup Day.

Victor Lebron, who is dividing his time between Turfway Park and Hoosier Park, has the call on William's Kitten. Lebron would be making his first appearance at Woodbine.

Vella going for another Grey win

Trainer Danny Vella won three editions of the Grey Stakes in the 1990s, when he was the private trainer for Stronach Stable.

On Sunday, Vella will seek his first victory in the Grey as a public trainer when he sends out Korvette Kid.

A Kentucky-bred by Lemon Drop Kid out of the Canadian champion turf specialist Bold Ruritana, Korvette Kid will be making his first start around two turns and his first start on Polytrack. He won his debut at six furlongs on the grass here Aug. 15 and was sixth, beaten 4 1/2 lengths, five weeks later in the Grade 3 Summer over one mile.

"That was maybe just a little too much for him in his second start," said Vella. "He didn't break as sharp as you'd have liked, and he was in behind horses for the first time in his life."

With no more turf opportunities for Korvette Kid here following the Summer, Vella worked him on the main track as a test for a possible appearance in the Grey.

Korvette Kid passed with flying colors, breezing five furlongs in a bullet 59.80 seconds here Monday under his regular rider, Jim McAleney.

"He worked awesome," said Vella. "He seemed to handle the Polytrack excellent, and he came out of the work well. We were very happy."

Vella also said he believes Korvette Kid won't have a problem going two turns, given the distance and the way he trains.

McAleney said he agrees.

"Physically, he really feels like he's horse that would thrive going two turns," said McAleney. "He doesn't seem anything like a sprinter type at all. That work was brilliant."

Good distance for Doctor Jack

Vella also has a leading candidate for Monday's $125,000 Bull Page in Doctor Jack.

A 2-year-old colt, Doctor Jack has finished third in two stakes: the 5 1/2-furlong Clarendon for Ontario foals on July 4 and the seven-furlong Simcoe for Canadian-bred colts and geldings who went through the ring at the local yearling sale.

Doctor Jack also finished fourth in his debut at 4 1/2 furlongs and was a five-length winner in a five-furlong race that was sandwiched between his stakes appearances. Both races were for Ontario-sired maidens.

The Bull Page is run at six furlongs.

"The question with him is whether he'll go two turns," said Vella. "Around one turn, I think he'll do anything."

Another close one in the cards?

Monday's card also will include the $100,000 Mt. Sassafras, a seven-furlong overnight stakes for Ontario-foaled 3-year-olds and up. The race has a field of nine.

The Mt. Sassafras features a rematch between Yummy With Butter and Stray Cat Stride, who finished inches apart when first and second in the seven-furlong Overskate here Sept. 13.

Yummy With Butter won by a nose after having a history of hard luck in stakes races.

Stray Cat Stride will be seeking his first stakes win. A 4-year-old gelding, he has been particularly effective in his last two starts. Before the narrow defeat to Yummy With Butter, he scored a 4 1/4-length win in a first-level allowance.

Both races were Stray Cat Stride's first two beyond seven furlongs.

"It's actually his best distance," said O'Callaghan. "Most of his family are like that."

Stray Cat Stride will again be ridden by Richard Dos Ramos and has come back to work twice since the Overskate, breezing five furlongs in 1:00.80 last Friday and going four furlongs in 48 seconds Thursday.

"He's training well," said O'Callaghan. "It will be good to see him match up with [Yummy With Butter] again, but there will be a few other tough ones in there."