“Bravo sweep all three graded stakes @ Belmont”

Joe Bravo completed a sweep of the three stakes at Belmont Park on Saturday by guiding Big Blue Kitten to victory in the Grade 3, $150,000 Fort Marcy Stakes.
Big Blue Kitten, now 7, was making his first start of the year. He showed impressive acceleration in the stretch to blow by pacesetting Howe Great and win the 1 1/8-mile turf race going away by 2 1/4 lengths. He was timed in 1:47.97 over firm turf, following splits of 24.52 seconds, 48.96, 1:13.15, and 1:36.45. Big Blue Kitten is trained by Chad Brown and owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey. He paid $5.70 as the favorite in the eighthorse field.

“I’m happy to reunite him with Joe, who rides him with so much confidence,” Brown said. “He took his chances inside again and this horse likes to be ridden that way, in cover, and if he finds a seam inside he’s willing to go through it. I’m so proud of this horse, at his age, how consistent he’s been for our barn. The win was Bravo’s fourth of the day. He earlier won the Grade 2, $200,000 Sheepshead Bay aboard Rosalind ($9.20) for Brown; the Grade 3, $150,000 Westchester on Tonalist ($3.80) for Christophe Clement; and a New York-bred allowance aboard Saltine Warrior ($10.40) for George Weaver. Many of the regular New York riders were at Churchill Downs on Saturday for the Kentucky Derby card.
Big Blue Kitten raced well off the pace in the Fort Marcy, a 1 1/8-mile turf race, saved ground into the stretch, and then stormed past Howe Great from the outside once a hole opened.
“He’s a pretty cool horse,” Bravo said of Big Blue Kitten. “Chad told me one thing about him, if you just point him at horses, he’ll run them down. And ever since the first time I rode, that’s all I’ve done, point him at horses.” Brown said one of the upcoming races that will be considered for Big Blue Kitten is the Grade 1, $1 million Manhattan at 1 1/4 miles on turf June 6, Belmont Stakes Day.

“Kudos to Mr. and Mrs. Ramsey for keeping him in training this year,” Brown said. “He had a couple of stud offers here and there. But they love this horse and believe in him and decided he
could make more on track than as a stallion.” Howe Great opened a long lead on the backstretch, then held second by a head over third-place finisher Middleburg. Divine Oath, who raced closest to Howe Great early, was fourth, threequarters of a length behind Middleburg. Travers Winner V. E. Day, making his 4-year-old debut and a return to turf, finished sixth after being fanned wide into the stretch.