“BIG BLUE KITTEN” WINS G1 UNITED NATIONS
Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Big Blue Kitten surged late to win his second edition of the $500,000 United Nations Stakes (gr. IT) (VIDEO) July 5 at Monmouth Park. Under the guidance of jockey Joe Bravo, the 7-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy closed gamely to repeat his success from the 2013 running of the race for trainer Chad Brown.
“Man, I keep saying it, but he’s just like an old glass of wine—he keeps getting better with age,” Bravo said. “He got beat less than five lengths in the Breeders’ Cup and I thought that was the worse race he ever ran. And this year, he’s just come back bigger and stronger, and (he) looks better than ever.” Trailing in seventh through much of the race, as many as 11 1/4 lengths behind longshot leader Shining Copper Shining Copper, Big Blue Kitten traveled three wide through the final turn, flying by rivals to hit the wire at 2:11.82 for the 1 3/8- mile test over turf rated firm.
Shining Copper ran all alone in front, setting fractions of 23.88, 47.58, and 1:11.84 through six furlongs, when he held a eight-length advantage. After a mile in 1:35.89, however, the lead was down to 2 1/2 lengths, as Big Blue Kitten moved within striking distance on the outside. “Joe knows this horse and rides him best,” Brown said. “This is Joe’s mount and I hope there’s several more grade I (races) in their future. This horse is just so consistent. What a great runner.” Slumber Slumber, who is also trained by Brown and upset Big Blue Kitten last time out in the Knob Creek Manhattan Stakes (gr. IT) at Belmont Park June 6, was 1 1/2 lengths back in second, followed by Twilight Eclipse, a neck back in third. Slumber was last through a mile and closed well, but could not get past his stablemate. “We didn’t get a great break out of the gate, so I was hoping I could get a better position,” said Slumber’s jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. “On the backside, I just sat back and relaxed, saved some ground. Unfortunately I had to check my horse at the three-eighths pole, then I had to cut the corner, then swing out and try to win from there. He made a good run, but just didn’t have enough.”
Main Sequence, the 2014 champion grass horse and older horse who won the United Nations last year, lacked the late kick that allowed him to win four straight grade I turf races in 2014. He finished a far-back seventh in the field of nine. “We had the perfect trip,” said Main Sequence’s rider, Rajiv Maragh. “The pace was there and we sat just where we wanted to, but it just wasn’t our day.” Shining Copper crossed the wire fourth, followed by Imagining, Ashleyluvssugar Ashleyluvssugar, Main Sequence, Sycamore Lane, and Divine Oath, to complete the order of finish.