Camelot Kitten preps for Belmont Derby in Pennine Ridge

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

May 31st, 2016

The addition of blinkers and a fast pace up front helped Camelot Kitten pull off an upset of the American Turf (G2) on the Kentucky Derby undercard. On Saturday, the Chad Brown trainee looks to take another positive step toward the $1.25 million Belmont Derby (G1) on July 9 in the $200,000 Pennine Ridge (G3), a nine-furlong test over Belmont Park's inner turf.

Runner-up in the Bourbon (G3) at two, Camelot Kitten moved forward in the American Turf off a season-opening second in an allowance at Keeneland. Saving ground in midpack early, Ken and Sarah Ramsey's homebred moved up on the turn, rallied up the rail in the stretch and out-dueled Beach Patrol to the wire. Finishing third was Surgical Strike, hero of last Saturday's Arlington Classic (G3).

Also exiting the American Turf are Grade 2 winner Azar, who finished fifth; the Brown-trained Converge, the Palm Beach (G3) winner who finished sixth; and California invader Dressed in Hermes, who ran seventh. Of the three, Azar might improve the most here. Saddled with wide draws in his past two starts, he breaks from post 4 in the Pennine Ridge and has run effectively on Belmont's inner turf before, just missing by a neck in last fall's Pilgrim (G3).

Highland Sky, who endured rough trips in both the Pilgrim and Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) last season, has finished second and first in two outings this season, the most recent a photo-finish score in the $100,000 Woodhaven at Aqueduct for Barclay Tagg. Also on the improve is Noble Quality, a Gulfstream allowance winner for Christophe Clement two back and third in the $75,000 English Channel in his follow-up.

In a race that lacks much in the way of pace, Hammers Terror might show some from the rail. Third to Exaggerator in the Saratoga Special (G2) last August, the Court Vision colt was a solid second against allowance foes going seven furlongs on the turf last time after racing close to the pace.

(Coady Photography)