Bobby’s Kitten, who made a remarkable last-to-first rally to take the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita last November, will make his first start since that run on Sunday when he faces seven others in the C$200,000 Play the King (G2) at Woodbine.
Showing a tendency to burn out setting the pace in longer races, Bobby’s Kitten was dropped back to about 6 1/2 furlongs for the Turf Sprint and, despite having to pass them all and with 12 lengths to make up in the final quarter-mile, Bobby’s Kitten showed a terrific closing kick to win by a half-length.
This will mark Bobby’s Kitten’s second trip to Toronto. In his final Breeders’ Cup prep last fall, the Kitten’s Joy colt set the pace before weakening to third in the Woodbine Mile (G1).
The seven-furlong Play the King is an ostensible prep for next month’s renewal of the Woodbine Mile, and with the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint shortened this year to 5 1/2 furlongs due to Keeneland’s configuration, Bobby’s Kitten might have no practical choice other than to aim for the Mile.
Kaigun is the most serious threat from a class perspective. Last year’s Play the King and Seabiscuit H. (G2) winner finished second in the Woodbine Mile ahead of Bobby’s Kitten, and should be fit for this outing following a recent third against allowance company. That July 31 prep was the five-year-old’s first outing in six months.
Also exiting that allowance are the one-two Stacked Deck and Tower of Texas, the latter the winner of the one-mile King Edward (G2) in June. The Play the King also includes King Edward runner-up Platinum Glory, who cuts back after showing a rare display of early speed in the nine-furlong Nijinsky (G2).
There are two intriguing longshots set to face Bobby’s Kitten. Reporting Star placed three times in graded company on turf last year and exits a sharp third versus allowance foes on Polytrack following a six-month break. The three-year-old Passion for Action, who captured the Cup and Saucer last season, also enters off an allowance prep where he was temporarily blocked in the stretch and could only get second after getting clear.
(Bobby’s Kitten photo: Wendy Wooley/EquiSport Photos)