The 4th Race at Churchill Downs on Thursday is a $50,000 maiden claiming event on the lawn. A field of 10 fillies and mares (plus five also eligibles) will vie in the one-mile turf affair which carries a $37,000 purse.
ENCORE KITTEN (#8) (7-2) makes her second career outing and looks very dangerous with expected improvement. The four-year-old daughter of Kitten’s Joy first appeared on the scene on the Kentucky Derby Day undercard in a deep maiden special weight on this green.
The Ken and Sarah Ramsey homebred went postward at odds of 11-1 as the lone first-time starter in the field, and she gave the impression of a filly who needed the race. Assigned the demanding rail post in the 12-horse contingent, Encore Kitten broke well and was in a decent spot to the turn for home, but she never responded late in her ninth-place finish. It’s worth of note that the third-place finisher, Gold Standard, came back to romp by 7 1/2 lengths in her next assignment.
Encore Kitten has a pair of full siblings who have raced and each has a turf victory to their credit. Her little brother, the three-year-old colt Faraway Kitten, is a dual winner on the green who finished third in the Rushaway S. at Turfway Park. He led throughout in a facile win at Churchill Downs on May 12.
Trained by Danny Gargan, the four-year-old tops the field in BRIS Prime Power for a conditioner who is two-for-five second time going a route of ground. She draws well today in a nice post away from the fence, and her most recent half-mile breeze at Keeneland was encouraging.
Jockey Ricardo Santana Jr., who is riding at a 24 percent clip on turf, inherits the mount atop the lass who lands in a field that lacks an abundance of class. He could have Encore Kitten forwardly placed and poised to strike at the top of the lane on the class drop.
(c) Coady Photography