Camelot Kitten wins another nail biter in Hall of Fame
Showing the tenacity that helped him prevail three other times in photo-finish situations, Camelot Kitten did it again Friday at Saratoga when narrowly edging Airoforce in the $200,000 National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame (G2).
The 19-10 favorite in a field of six three-year-olds, Ken and Sarah Ramsey's homebred colt by Kitten's Joy earned his third graded triumph of the season by a nose, completing 1 1/16 miles on the firm inner turf in 1:41.76.
Tracking outside in the second flight as Giant Run set a pace of :25.08, :49.17, and 1:12.88, Camelot Kitten commenced a three-wide bid around the far turn under Irad Ortiz Jr.
In the stretch, Giant Run hung tough along the inside with Airoforce between he and Camelot Kitten. Giant Run eventually gave way and it was the top pair that dueled to the wire, with Camelot Kitten ($5.80) grinding out the victory, the third of the day for trainer Chad Brown.
"He waits a little bit on horses so we couldn't make the lead too early," Ortiz said. "I waited and eased him into the race little by little. The last part I hit a few times coming into the turn and he was ready. He was jumping. I think he might be better at this distance [1 1/16 miles] but he's a nice horse; he can definitely still go a mile and eighth and a mile and a quarter."
Airoforce finished three parts of a length ahead of 7-1 chance Strike Midnight, who was a neck in front of Giant Run. Isotherm and Unbridled Daddy completed the order of finish. Copingaway and two main-track-only entries were scratched.
Camelot Kitten has now won three times in four starts since adding blinkers. The first was an 18-1 upset of the American Turf (G2) at Churchill Downs by a head, which was then followed by a neck score in the Pennine Ridge (G3) at Belmont. Last out, Camelot Kitten was a credible fourth in the Belmont Derby (G1) over 1 1/4 miles.
"This horse has always shown a lot of talent but he just wasn't finishing off his races the way he should," Brown said. "Since we put the blinkers on, it's his fourth great race in a row. It was the final piece of the puzzle for this particular horse."
Also runner-up in the Bourbon (G3) earlier in his career, Camelot Kitten has now earned $603,520 from a line of 8-4-2-0.
Out of the Forestry mare Celestial Woods, Camelot Kitten is a full brother to Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (G1) winner Bobby's Kitten. His third dam, North of Eden, reared 1994 turf male champion Paradise Creek and Grade 1 winners Forbidden Apple and Wild Event. This also the family of 1987 turf male champion Theatrical and Japanese star Taiki Blizzard.
(Chelsea Durand/Adam Coglianese Photography)