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2014 Flower Bowl Stakes

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Stephanie's Kitten takes her walk down Victory Lane after winning the 2014 Flower Bowl led by owner Ken Ramsey (right).
Date: 09/27/2014

A field of 8 older fillies and mares contested the $600,000 Flower Bowl Stakes (G1) at Belmont Park, a "Win and You're In" qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf. Stephanie's Kitten was sent off as the 6-5 favorite in the field of 8 off consecutive second place finishes in the Diana (G1) and Beverly D (G1). In to challenge her included 9-2 second choice Abaco, winner of the Ballston Spa (G2), and 5-1 third choice Viva Rafaela, second in the Glens Falls (G3).

Shortly after the start of the Flower Bowl.

Jockey Javier Castellano sent Viva Rafaela to the lead first time past the stands and she set fractions of 24.73, 50.28, 1:14.62, and 1:38.40 over the firm course, while stalked by 30-1 Starstruck and 7-1 Alterite. Viva Rafaela held a short lead to the 1/8 pole but Stephanie's Kitten, fourth early, came out 3 wide for room and took over in the final furlong and drew off to a 1 1/4 length win over late-running Abaco in 2:01.15. It was just a neck back to pacesetter Viva Rafaela third.

Check out the other races on the card: Jockey Club Gold Cup, Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, The Beldame, The Vosburgh, and Kelso Handicap.

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 #  Horse                Jockey          Win  Place   Show
 9  Stephanie's Kitten   Velazquez      4.40   3.00   2.30
 1  Abaco                Ortiz                 4.10   2.80
 3  Viva Rafaela         Castellano                   3.20

Winning Time:  2:01.15

$2 Exacta 9-1                18.20
$2 Trifecta 9-1-3            63.50
$2 Superfecta 9-1-3-6       375.50
Results Chart

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Stephanie's Kitten in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Chad Brown said, "She got a beautiful trip, and I'm really proud of this filly; she deserved to get a good, clean trip. That's the third race in a row for us that I felt she ran terrific. She was a little unlucky in the Beverly D. and Diana, and this time Johnny got away from the gate really well and gave her a beautiful trip. The filly did the rest. Absolutely (going to the Breeders' Cup). We've been working backwards from the Filly and Mare Turf, and believed this filly could get there all year as one of the horses to beat."

Right: Stephanie's Kitten shortly after the start of the race. Jockey John Velazquez said, "It doesn't get any better than that. We broke well enough, and I wanted to make sure I got a nice position going into the first turn. Once we got that, I was pretty pleased with where I was and kind of bided my time. When I asked her, she responded right away, and made me look really good."

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Second place finisher Abaco heads out of the paddock before the race. Trainer Shug McGaughey said, "She was second best. I thought she ran good. I thought maybe around the turn she got shuffled around a little bit, but she went on and finished well. If the pace had been a little quicker, it would have probably helped the winner, too, but we might not have had to ease up that far on her. I am satisfied with the race she ran. I hate to lose, but she ran a good race.''

Right: Third place finisher Viva Rafaela behind the starting gate. The 5-1 shot set the pace under Javier Castellano but failed to hold off the first two. The Todd Pletcher trainee improved her record to 3 wins, 4 seconds, and 3 thirds in 17 starts, earning $174,500 for owner-breeder Stud TNT.

Check out the other races on the card: Jockey Club Gold Cup, Joe Hirsch Turf Classic, The Beldame, and The Vosburgh.

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