Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Stephanie’s Kitten prevailed in the Grade 1 $400,000 Darley Alcibiades Stakes for two-year-old fillies on opening day at Keeneland. This was a Breeders’ Cup Win & You’re In Challenge race which earned Stephanie’s Kitten a berth in the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. The Breeders’ Cup World Championships will be held at Churchill Downs on November 4 and 5.
On whether or not Stephanie’s Kitten would accept the berth in the Breeders’ Cup, owner Ken Ramsey said, “Win and you’re in, and we’ll be in. She’s named after my granddaughter, Stephanie Esther Ramsey. This could be the best of the litter, who knows?”
Trainer Wayne Catalano has opted for turf instead of dirt with an announcement that he plans to run the filly in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf on Friday, November 4.
As the fourth choice of the betting public at 9-1, Stephanie’s Kitten sat well off the leaders in mid-pack through much of the 1 1/16 mile race over the Polytrack surface. By the eighth pole, jockey John Velazquez had begun to move her out of traffic and to the outside. Into the stretch, Stephanie’s Kitten had the leaders, Heart of Destiny and Putthebabiesdown, clearly in her grasp and closed strongly to prevail by 1 ½ lengths over second place finisher Heart of Destiny.
Heart of Destiny maintained a neck in front of Putthebabiesdown who was another 3 ¾ lengths in front of Frolic’s Revenge. The pacesetter, On Fire Baby, lost her lead going into the stretch and finished another length back in fifth.
The post-time favorite, Canadian-based Tu Endie Wei, finished a disappointing seventh. Trainer Reade Baker said of the filly, “I don’t know if we’ll go on to the Breeders’ Cup; that’s up to the boss (owner Brereton Jones). She really got fired up in the gate. Your stalls are much wider and make a lot more noise than ours in Canada and she didn’t like it.”
Stephanie’s Kitten paid $21.60, $10.40, and $6.80. Heart of Destiny, who went off at odds of nearly 18-1, paid $14.00 and $9.20 for her second place effort. Putthebabiesdown returned $10.20 for third, going off at just over 17-1.
Keeneland opened its Fall meet to a Friday Fall opening day record crowd of 19,026. Keeneland moved its opening day from Saturday to Friday in 2001.
Photo: Courtesy Keeneland Photo