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Becky's Kitten hoping to keep Tropical Park Derby in the family

Six years after his sire, Kitten's Joy, kicked off his Eclipse Award-winning campaign with a victory in the $100,000 Tropical Park Derby (G3), BECKY'S KITTEN will attempt to land another edition of the 1 1/8-mile turf event at Calder for owner-breeders Ken and Sarah Ramsey. The Tropical Park Derby, whose recent winners also include 2006 Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Barbaro, is the lone graded stakes around the nation on New Year's Day and the final stakes of the Tropical-at-Calder meet, which concludes Saturday.

A winner in his first turf attempt at Saratoga, Becky's Kitten rallied to be second in the Summer S. (Can-G3) in his next start after trailing the field of 10 at the first call. Forwardly placed behind a soft pace in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (G2) last time, the dark bay was forced to steady three furlongs from home and retreated to ninth in the capacity field of 12. Elvis Trujillo takes over from Julien Leparoux on the Wesley Ward trainee Friday.

LOST APTITUDE (Aptitude), a romping winner of an allowance and the Grand Canyon H. during the Churchill Downs fall meet, figures to be one of the favorites. Finding himself alone on the lead in the Grand Canyon, Lost Aptitude proceeded to set a moderate pace under Jon Court and had plenty left turning for home to win going away by 5 1/4 lengths. Lost Aptitude is conditioned by Dale Romans, who saddled Kitten's Joy to victory in 2004.

CAT PARK (Tale of the Cat), seven lengths third to Lost Aptitude in the Grand Canyon, was a convincing turf allowance winner at Keeneland two back over yielding ground, and would be one to consider should similar conditions arise for the Tropical Park Derby. Leparoux has taken the mount on the chestnut who sports the prominent green and white silks of Augustin Stable and is trained by Graham Motion.

More than half the field will be making their stakes debuts in this spot. OUR CHAMPION (Value Plus), SUNRISE NURSERY (Roman Ruler) and FLY BY PHIL (Act of Duty) all exit first-level allowance wins at Calder, the latter being the only one of the three who has yet to race and win on the grass. GATOR TIGER (Tiger Ridge) was only a neck behind Our Champion in their November 29 showdown, a mere 18 days after he won his turf debut by a comfortable two lengths.

Another intriguing candidate is TRIPPO (Trippi), who graduated on the Aqueduct turf two back and won a photo for the place in his allowance debut over the same course on soft ground. The Frank Alexander-trained colt recorded solid BRIS Late Pace figures of 104 and 97 in those two efforts.


 


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