Stallion Profile: Kitten's Joy

Johnny V, a winner while in the familiar Ramsey Farm silks. - Matthew Stockman

With the coming of Spring, and the opening of Keeneland, that means the perennial dominance of the Ramseys at the Lexington track comes to mind. And where the Ramseys run, their Kittens follow.

I'm going to do this profile a bit differently than my others. That's mostly due to the fact that I don't have access to a computer, just an iPad, but also because I've thought a lot about Kitten's Joy as a stallion over the past few years. An owner's support can make or break a stallion insofar as supporting him with their best mares or choosing better options for their mares. In Kitten's Joy's case, I'm not sure if you could ever definitively say that any stallion has been better supported by an owner than how the Ramseys have with Kitten's Joy. Every year there is a seemingly unending line of Kitten's (insert name) or (adjective here) Kitten bred and owned by the Ramseys. But is that just a case of sampling bias? Is my selective memory just playing tricks on me or is there really a direct correlation to a successful Kitten's Joy runner and being bred by the Ramseys?

So I dug into PedigreeQuery.com. I went through the top earners for Kitten's Joy to see who the breeder was and I ended up checking the top-30. Sure enough, I only found 4 of the 30 that were not bred by the Ramseys. They are:

  1. Suntracer, a horse foaled in 2008 by KJ out of the listed stakes winning Prized mare, Taxable Deduction. Suntracer won $398,898 from 20 starts with a 6-4-1 record. Bred and owned by Team Block. Did all of his running between 8-12f on the turf in Illinois at HAW and AP.
  2. Sweet Cat, a filly foaled in 2009 by KJ out of the unraced Carson City mare, Claire's Smile. Sweet Cat won $232,950 from 10 starts with a 2-4-1 record. Bred by Runnymeade Farm and Catesby W. Clay in Kentucky and owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred. She was a juvenile phenom, placing in the G3T-Jessamine and showing in the G2T-BC Juv Fillies Turf. Her performance dropped off as a 3yo, only managing two places in listed turf 6f sprints.
  3. Deanaallen'sKitten, a mare foaled in 2007 by KJ out of the winning Carmelite House mare, Miss Carmella. She won $180,000 from 15 starts and a 5-5-4 record. She was not a stakes horse. Bred by Six Winters Farm but owned and raced by the Ramseys. She just won an allowance race a 8.5f on the turf at Gulstream two weeks ago.
  4. Kitten's Point, a filly foaled in 2010 by KJ out of the winning Kingmambo mare, Redezvous Point. She has won $161,115 from 5 starts and a 2-2-0 record. She placed in the G3T-Jessamine and won the G3T-Herecomesthebride at Gulfstream this year. Bred by George Strawbridge, Jr and raced by Augustin Stable. She seems to be a very solid 8f+ turf filly this year.

So what does this mean? I don't think it's anything against Kitten's Joy, it simply means there are three categories of Kitten's Joys:

  1. Bred and Owned by the Ramseys (aka bet on it at Keenelend)
  2. Bred by the Ramseys, owned by another (very good horse)
  3. Not bred by the Ramseys (I'd stay away)

There's another interesting stat on Kitten's Joy. When looking at The Thoroughbred Times' APEX Stallion ratings you see something that really stands out (note: 1 is index average, less than one is below average, above one is good, in the area of 2 is fantastic):

  • 2yo: 2.31
  • 3yo: 1.72
  • 4yo: 0.72
  • 5yo+: 0.38

For an explanation of APEX ratings, I highly encourage you go read this. But what you clearly see is a classic Juvenile Sire-type age/performance distribution with a spike of high-earning and quick developing 2yos. You see an above average number of productive 3yo earners. But then you see a complete dearth of older horses and mares that are capable of being above average earners. Additionally, while his best older horses typically are best at 8 panels, his average winning index is only 7.45 furlongs, due to the large number of 2yo winners he sires, and they will obviously win at shorter distances on average than older horses.

Compound the propesity for 2yo winners, a clear turf and poly influence, and you get the perfect combination for a dominant Keeneland meet for an owner that seems to have found the way to breed big winners out of their stallion. Keeneland Spring is where we see the first 2yos emerge and Keeneland Fall is where we see big 2yos dominate. I hate to say that it is a ridiculous coincidence that the Ramseys have the perfect situation for themselves, but it certainly is remarkable that the stars have aligned so they utterly dominate as owners at Keeneland.

So basically, all I'm trying to say is this: You see a two year old owned and bred by the Ramseys running on the turf at Keeneland, bet it and bet it hard. And when it's running on the Poly, you probably should be it too.

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