JoeBravo_BigBlueKitten_winners_circle_2015JoeHirsch-684x456Big Blue Kitten’s tenacious three-quarter length victory in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont Park was the third graded stakes win of the year for the son of Kitten’s Joy.
Aboard for all of the 7-year-old’s starts this season has been ‘Jersey’ Joe Bravo, who is having a banner year. The New Jersey native reached the 5,000-win milestone in May and has captured 15 graded stakes so far. That places him in a tie with Gary Stevens and Irad Ortiz Jr. for fourth on the American Graded Stakes Standings jockey list.

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In addition to winning the Turf Classic, Bravo has found the winner’s circle on Big Blue Kitten in the G1 United Nations and G3 Fort Marcy. He has also notched victories with Sheer Drama (G1 Personal Ensign, G1 Delaware Handicap, G2 Royal Delta), Watsdachances (G1 Beverly D.Stakes), Conquest Daddyo (G2 Summer), Dramedy (G2 Elkhorn), Living the Life (G2 Presque Isle Masters),
Madefromlucky (G2 West Virginia Derby), Tonalist (G3 Westchester), Middleburg (G3 Cliff Hanger), Rosalind (G2 Sheepshead Bay), and Strict Compliance (G3 Boiling Springs). Beholder’s victory in the G1 Zenyatta Stakes provided jockey Gary Stevens with his 15th graded stakes winner of the season, which kept him in step with both Bravo and Ortiz Jr. on the AGS jockey list. The Zenyatta was Beholder’s fourth graded stakes win of the year to go along with the G1 Pacific Classic, G1 Clement Hirsch, G3 Adoration.

Stevens has also had success with Ashleyluvssugar (G2 San Luis Rey, G2 Charles Whittingham), Catch a Flight (G2 Californian, G2 San Diego), Avansare (G2 Arcadia, G2 Del Mar Mile), Diversy Harbor (G2 Buena Vista), Om (G2 Del Mar Derby), Taris (G3 Rancho Bernardo), Kobe’s Back (G3 Commonwealth), and Firing Line (G3 Sunland Derby). Saham’s victory in the G3 Jefferson Cup provided his sire, Lemon Drop Kid, with his sixth graded stakes winner of 2015, placing him in fifth on the AGS sire list. Lemon Drop Kid is also the sire of Don’t Leave Me (G3 Bourbonette Oaks, G3 Ontario Colleen), Da Big Hoss (G3 Kentucky Cup Turf), Itsaknockout (G2 Fountain of Youth), and Middleburg (G3 Cliff Hanger).