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BARN NOTES: March 3, 2016

  • ·        Sapphire Kitten Seeks First Stakes in Lacombe
  • ·        Shaken Exits Surgery Well, Prognosis Positive
  • ·        Tom’s Ready Sharp in Return to Work Tab



Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey’s homebred Sapphire Kitten will try to attain her first added-money victory on Saturday in the featured $50,000 Allen ‘Black Cat’ Lacombe Memorial at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots over 7½ furlongs on the Stall-Wilson turf course. Previously based this winter with trainer Joe Sharp’s Palm Meadows, South Florida string, the daughter of Kitten’s Joy has arrived in New Orleans with her connections hoping a drop in class will aid her in gaining initial stakes glory.

“She’s coming into the race well,” Sharp said. “She’s been here about a week and is settling in good. Last time she had a terrible trip and couldn’t get out of traffic. She already has a stakes placing, but we’d like to make her a stakes winner and give Kitten’s Joy another stakes winner, while capitalizing on a slightly softer spot.”

A winner at first asking by three lengths in a rich Kentucky Downs six-furlong turf maiden, the chestnut filly returned to finish a neck second at Keeneland in the Grade III $150,000 Jessamine Stakes three weeks later on Oct. 7. A little over three weeks after that she was a game fourth – beaten just 1¼ lengths – in the Grade I $1,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf over the same course.

Favored in her last two starts, Sapphire Kitten was a disappointing third in the $75,000 Wait A While Stakes at Gulfstream Park West on Nov. 28 and then kicked off her campaign with a tough-luck fourth in the Grade III $100,000 Sweetest Chant Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 30. In the latter, she was forced to wait the majority of the stretch before finally getting loose and coming up 1½ lengths short.

“She’s been pretty aggressively placed since she broke her maiden,” Sharp continued. “On paper, this is one of the easier spots she’s been in, so hopefully she gets it done. Brian (Hernandez, Jr.) (who picks up the mount) will do a good job on her.”

Sapphire Kitten breaks from post five and is the 5-2 morning line favorite in the full field of 13 sophomore fillies.



Mark Stansell’s homebred graded stakes-placed filly Shaken, who exited her third-place finish in the Grade II $200,000 Twinspires.com Rachel Alexandra Stakes with an injury, has recovered from her surgery and is in good shape, according to trainer Mike Stidham.

“She came out of the Rachel Alexandra with a slab fracture in her knee,” Stidham said. “She had surgery and had a screw put in. It’s unfortunate, as she had run so well in the race.”

“Her prognosis is very good,” Stidham continued.  We’re hoping to get her back and get her to return to her good form. She has a lot of talent.”

A smart winner on debut in a six-furlong maiden on Jan. 30, the daughter of hot sire Uncle Mo stepped up considerably in class and trip to the 1 1/16-miles Rachel Alexandra and ran extremely well to finish third, beaten only 1½ lengths under Brian Hernandez, Jr.



G M B Racing’s Tom’s Ready returned to the work tab for the first time since a disappointing seventh last out in the Grade II $400,000 Risen Star Stakes on Thursday at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. The son of More Than Ready worked a half-mile in 48.60 for the fifth-best of 54 moves at the distance. The Dallas Stewart trainee is being aimed toward the Grade II $1,000,000 TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby on Mar. 26.

Grade II winner Ahh Chocolate continues to work well toward her 4-year-old bow for trainer Neil Howard. The daughter of Candy Ride worked six-furlongs in 1:14.20 for owner-breeder Stoneway Farm and is expected to start before meet’s end.

Another son of Candy Ride, Grade II $400,000 Risen Star Stakes winner Gun Runner returned to the tab with a smooth five-furlong move in 1:02.80 for trainer Steve Asmussen. Owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds and Three Chimneys Farm, he is aiming toward the Louisiana Derby as his final Kentucky Derby prep.

Earlier this week, Carolyn and Fletcher Gray’s Grade I winner I’m a Chatterbox worked a half-mile in 50.40 for trainer Larry Jones. The daughter of Munnings has recorded four works since returning to training following a season in which she was a finalist for the Eclipse Award for top 3-year-old filly of 2015.

Grade I-winning Nickname worked a sharp six furlongs in 1:11.80 for trainer Steve Asmussen and owner LNJ Foxwoods. The daughter of Scat Daddy was second in her sophomore debut in the $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Feb. 6.

Three-time stakes winner Albano continues to work well toward his 5-year-old bow for trainer Larry Jones. The Brereton C. Jones homebred son of Istan worked five furlongs in 1:01.40.

Mike G. Rutherford’s multiple stakes winner Stageplay worked a half-mile mile in an easy 52.20 for trainer Steve Asmussen in her first start since finishing fifth as the 3-5 favorite in the Grade II $200,000 Rachel Alexandra Stakes on Feb. 20.

William S. Farish’s stakes-winning homebred Eagle, who was second in both the Listed $75,000 Louisiana Stakes and Grade III $125,000 Mineshaft Handicap in his last two starts, worked a half-mile in 50.60 for trainer Neil Howard. The compact son of Candy Ride is expected to start next in the Grade II $400,000 New Orleans Handicap on Mar. 26.

LNJ Foxwoods’ highly regarded Inheritance continues to work well toward her 3-year-old bow for trainer Steve Asmussen. The daughter of Tapit out of Silver Wolf worked five furlongs in 1:01.80.


Michael Adolphson | @AdolphsonRacing
Media Specialist, Senior Writer