Big Blue Kitten closed from the inside to win the United Nations Stakes on Saturday at Monmouth Park. (Photo By Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO)
Not only did Bravo give the 5-year-old Kitten’s Joy horse an impeccable ride in the 1 3/8-mile Grade 1 race, targeting the United Nations also was Bravo’s idea after a runner-up finish in the Monmouth Stakes on June 9.
“Another memorable ride from Joe Bravo. That was one for his highlight reel,” Brown said after Bravo rallied Big Blue Kitten from off the pace for a 1 ¼-length win. “I had so much confidence in Joe riding this horse. I came down when he ran at Monmouth last out and Joe told me if he knew the horse a little bit more he would have probably won that one. After his last race, Joe really sold me on giving the United Nations some consideration.”
Bravo felt like the Monmouth Stakes was a missed opportunity when Big Blue Kitten finished powerfully but a little too late when second by 1 ¼ lengths to Boisterous. He asked Big Blue Kitten to pick up the pace earlier in the United Nations.
Big Blue Kitten accelerated into striking range of pacesetter Little Mike on the final turn. He was trapped briefly in traffic near the eighth pole but swept past Little Mike and Teaks North from the inside.
“It’s amazing how much you can learn from one race” Bravo said. “Looking back, we could have won the last one [Monmouth Stakes], but I took what I learned there and used it today. This horse was ready to run the whole way around there today. Little Mike came off the rail just a little in the stretch and we were able to get through.”
Teaks North held on for second and Hangover Kid overhauled 2012 Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Little Mike for third.
Big Blue Kitten earned a starting berth in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Turf with the United Nations win. The race is part of the Breeder’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” series.
Big Blue Kitten improved to nine wins from 16 career starts and the $300,000 winner’s share for the United Nations boosted his career bankroll to $698,530 for owners-breeders Ken and Sarah Ramsey.
“I don’t know where we’ll go next yet, I will speak to Mr. Ramsey about it,” Brown said. “I’m sure we’ll take a look at the Arlington Million, I wouldn’t be opposed to going a mile and a half in the Sword Dancer, or cutting back for the Arlington Million. He’ll head back to his base at Saratoga tonight and we’ll wait and see.”
For an Equibase chart, click here.
BIG BLUE KITTEN (right) TAKES UNITED NATIONS
Photo By Bill Denver/EQUI-PHOTO