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Dean's Kitten earns Derby trip with Lane's End win

Saturday, March 27, 2010 12:00 AM
  • Spiral Stakes
FLORENCE, KY . . . March 27, 2010 . . . Smiling with delight, surrounded by her large and exuberant family, and with the winner's blanket of yellow mums draped across her lap, Sarah Ramsey accepted the trophy earned by Dean's Kitten in the $500,000 Lane's End Stakes at Turfway Park Saturday.

Confined to a wheelchair since suffering a stroke in early 2007, Mrs. Ramsey stayed home to cheer on Dean's Kitten while husband Ken accompanied the couple's Grade 1 winner Furthest Land to Dubai for the World Cup, also run today.

In addition to the trophy, the 2 1/2-length score in the Lane's End also earned Dean's Kitten a shot at the Kentucky Derby (G1). The $291,000 winner's share upped his all-important graded stakes earnings to $321,000.

Dean's Kitten settled in fourth and then third, racing four wide about three lengths off the moderate :48.57 pace set by Ranger Heartley through four of the Lane's End's nine furlongs. Ranger Heartley still held the lead at the six furlong mark, clocking that distance in 1:12.68, but by then Dean's Kitten had moved to within a length of the lead. A furlong later he had the lead by a length and at the wire held a 2 1/2-length advantage over Northern Giant, who made a strong move of his own in the stretch. Connemara, the 8-5 favorite, was another 3 1/4 lengths back in third. Final time for the 1 1/8 mile Lane’s End was 1:50.59.

"I really like this horse," said winning rider Cornelio Velasquez. "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 (trainer Mike 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."

Dean's Kitten came in to the Lane’s End off strong finishes in the Hallandale Beach Stakes, in which he was fourth but beaten just two lengths, and the Palm Beach Stakes (G3), in which he was beaten by 2 1/2 lengths as the runner-up.

"We were looking for just what we got today," said Maker. "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."

Asked whether the Derby was definitely in Ken Ramsey's plans for Dean's Kitten, Maker said with a grin, "Well, you'd have to talk to the boss, but I'd have to say he'd be inclined to go. I do know that Mr. Ramsey is excited, and that he’s still awake (in Dubai)."

Completing the order of finish in the Lane's End were Chief Counsel, Vow to Wager, Letsgetitonmon, Outlaw Man, Doubles Partner, and Ranger Heartley. Kettle River was scratched by his trainer.

The bettors' third choice at 6-1, Dean’s Kitten paid $15, $6.20, and $3.40.

Dean's Kitten is a three-year-old son of the prolific Kitten's Joy, the Ramseys' Eclipse Award-winning turf star. He now has three wins, one second, and two thirds in 11 career starts for total earnings of $418,495.

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