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Jockey Cornelio Velasquez and Dean's Kitten after winning the 2010 Lane's End Stakes
The $500,000 Lane's End Stakes (G2) at Turfway Park is a major prep for the Kentucky Derby, run just 5 weeks before the Run for the Roses. Conditions were ideal for racing, with sunny skies and temperatures in the low 60's at the northern Kentucky oval. A field of 10 three-year-olds contested the 1 1/8 mile trip over the synthetic Polytrack, with Connemara sent off as the 8-5 favorite, exiting a win in the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields after finishing 2nd in the California Derby. In to challenge him included 7-2 second choice Northern Giant, third in the Risen Star last out, and 6-1 third choice Dean's Kitten, exiting a second place finish in the Palm Beach on the turf at Gulfstream.
Dean's Kitten draws away in the stretch
10-1 Ranger Heartley was sent to the front by jockey Michael Baze setting early fractions of 24.48, 48.57, and 1:12.68 while as many as 1 1/2 lengths ahead of 19-1 Vow to Wager in second. Entering the stretch, Ranger Heartley tired and faded to last, as Dean's Kitten, who stalked them in third the whole way, moved up to take the lead at the 3/16 pole. Northern Giant put in a late rally from 5th but was no match for Dean's Kitten, who drew off through the final furlong to win by 2 1/2 lengths in 1:50.59. It was another 3 1/4 lengths back to late-running favorite Connemara third.
Also on the card was Bourbonette Oaks, a Kentucky Oaks preps for the 3-year-old fillies, the Queen Stakes for distaff sprinters, and the Fairway Fun for route fillies and mares.
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 9 Dean's Kitten Velasquez 15.00 6.20 3.40 7 Northern Giant Borel 5.40 3.40 1 Connemara Baze 2.10 Winning Time: 1:50.59 $2 Exacta 9-7 62.40 $2 Trifecta 9-7-1 186.00 $2 Superfecta 9-7-1-3 2,239.60
Left: Dean's Kitten in the winner's circle with owner Sarah Ramsey in the wheelchair with her extended family. Her husband Ken was in Dubai for the World Cup.
Right: The trophy presentation with Sarah Ramsey, Cornelio Velasquez, trainer Mike Maker, and Bill Farish of Lane's End Farm. Maker, celebrating his 2nd Lane's End win, said, "We were looking for just what we got. He did not get good trips at Gulfstream. That course has been favoring speed horses all meet so we pointed for this race and it paid off for us. I thought he was laying perfect. He's been laying a little closer the farther he's been going. Well, you'd have to talk to the boss (owner Ken Ramsey) but I'd have to say he'd be inclined to go (to the Kentucky Derby. I do know that Mr. Ramsey is excited, and that he's still awake (in Dubai where Furthest Land ran in the Dubai World Cup)." Maker won in 2006 with With a City.
Left: Dean's Kitten heads out of the paddock before the race.
Right: Dean's Kitten shortly after the start as they pass by the first time. His jockey Cornelio Velasquez said, "I really like this horse. He's why I came here today. He has a lot of try. He loves Polytrack. He can run on grass, but this is his track. Mr. Maker never gave me any instructions. I just wanted to keep him off the pace. I had a ton of horse at the top of the stretch. I was very confident in him. He's a nice horse."
Left: Second place finisher Northern Giant in the post parade. Sebastian Nicholl, assistant to trainer D. Wayne Lukas said, "We're very happy with his performance. It worked out for us. I thought he was placed beautifully in the race. He just got beat by a better horse today." Jockey Calvin Borel added, "He ran a beautiful race. He's just a little green and it showed. I wouldn't go by the winner. But, it was a good effort and I think the owners will be happy with that."
Right: Third place finisher and beaten favorite Connemara returns after the race. Mike McCarthy, assistant to trainer Todd Pletcher said, "Two things hurt him. One was a slow pace and Russell said the track was coming out from under him. The post position was no factor. I was pleased with his effort and he was running hard at the end. It's too early to tell what we'll do next. We'll take him to Churchill and go from there." Jockey Russell Baze added, "I got him where I wanted down the backstretch. He wasn't handling it completely, but once I got him out, he really came running. He galloped out beautifully. I thought he ran very well. Overall, it was a solid effort."
Left: Some of the many Ramsey grandchildren with the winner's flowers. Some of the Kitten's Joy offspring bred and owned by the Ramseys are named after their 6 grandchildren.
Right: Sarah Ramsey poses with her son and trainer Michael Maker. She continues to recover from a serious stroke she suffered in
The start of the Lane's End Stakes. You can see that #5, Ranger Heartley, really mugged #6, Outlaw Man right out of the gate.
Three-year-olds nominated for the Lane's End looking for an easier spot ran in the 1 1/16 mile, $100,000 Rushaway Stakes on the undercard just before the feature. Positive Split was sent off as the 11-10 favorite off a 7th place finish in the Fountain of Youth Stakes over 7-2 Activity Report and 7-1 In The Paint. Activity Report was quickest away to get the first quarter in 24.02 before giving up the lead to 9-1 Exhi down the backstretch. Exhi raced a length in front of 8-1 Lonesome Street the rest of the way, through fractions of 47.52, 1:11.58, and 1:37.61. In the Paint put in a late rally but could not catch the first two, as Exhi finished a length ahead of Lonesome Street in 1:44.47. It was another 4 3/ 4 lengths back to In the Paint third.
Exhi in the winner's circle. Mike McCarthy, assistant to winning trainer Todd Pletcher said, "Everything worked out well. I thought Russell Baze rode a super race. He followed the instructions perfectly. He kept him quiet leaving the gate and settled him going down the backstretch. I was surprised he made the lead so soon, but he was just the best horse on the day. As for what's next, I don't know."
His jockey Russell Baze said, "He showed good speed today. Calvin's horse (Activity Report) blew the turn and I was able to stay to the inside. He took the bit then and wanted to run, but I was able to get him to relax. He was very game."
A field of 7 three-year-olds sprinted 6 furlongs in the $50,000 Hansel Stakes. 6-5 favorite Cool Bullet stalked 5-1 third choice Kera's Kitten through the first quarter in 21.61 before taking over entering the far turn through a half in 44.45. Into the stretch, Cool Bullet opened up to a 3 length lead through 5/8 in 56.71. 2-1 second choice Strapping Groom moved up to second but Cool Bullet was long gone, drawing off to win by 4 1/2 lengths in 1:08.97. It was a long 9 lengths back from Strapping Groom to 13-1 Rockin' Rockstar third.
Cool Bullet in the winner's circle. His trainer Steve Margolis said, "The Southwest was just a very tough race so we got to talking and we put him back to sprint. He ran a big race. He's been a good little horse for us. He'll go back to Churchill now and we'll come up with a plan for him." Jockey Calvin Borel added, "(Margolis) called me and told me he had him ready to run. He ran like much the best today. It looks like he's a real sprinter. Those last races might have been a little long for him. It was a very easy trip. I got away from the fence, because it looks like it's a little deep down there, but he had his ears pricked. He did it all so easy on his own."
On to the Bourbonette Oaks and the Queen Stakes
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