Saturday, January 30, 2010 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . January 30, 2010 . . . Kera's Kitten redeemed his loss in Turfway Park's first prep for the Lane's End Stakes by easily winning the second, Saturday’s one-mile WEBN Stakes.
Slewzoom finished 2 1/2 lengths back in second after racing in third from the half-mile pole. Lucky Chuck, the 3-1 favorite, raced in second from the same marker and finished third, another 3 3/4 lengths behind.
In the first prep, the Turfway Prevue early this month, Kera's Kitten stumbled badly leaving the gate and finished seventh. In the WEBN Stakes, jockey Tom Pompell kept him together to get him third out of the gate and took him straight to the lead. He was home free from there, at one point in the stretch opening up a four-length lead.
"[Trainer Mike Maker] told me I had the speed," said Pompell, who was aboard Kera's Kitten for the first time. "He didn't break real well but I kind of got after him and got him to the lead and settled him down from there. On the final turn they came up to me and I let mine out a little bit, seeing as how I had horse, but there was really no challenge."
Kera's Kitten set a comfortable pace at :24.25, :48.56, and 1:13.88 before finishing the mile in 1:41.21.
Behind Lucky Chuck came 31-1 Pathoki, Fish, Patti's Kitten, In the Paint, Mickejoe, Justamatteroftime, Big Bruin, Proud of Midway, and Rockin' Rockstar, who broke poorly. Outclass did not draw in from the also-eligible list and was scratched.
Fourth choice at 5.90-1, Kera's Kitten returned $13.80, $8.40, and $5.80.
Maker, reached by phone from his winter base in Florida, said, "Well, he runs a lot better when he breaks good. He had to load first [in the WEBN] and he gets a little anxious standing in the gate, even though he had three schooling sessions this week. But of course it's different with other horses around."
Maker said Kera's Kitten would return for the third local Lane's End prep, the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes on February 27, "if all goes well" after the WEBN. The Lane's End Stakes runs a month later on March 27.
A homebred owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, Kera's Kitten is a true 3-year-old, having been foaled January 28, 2007. By turf champion Kitten's Joy out of the Dixieland Band mare Mrs. K., he now has three wins from five starts and earnings of $104,585.
Formerly the Presidents Stakes, the WEBN Stakes has been sponsored since 2002 by Cincinnati rock radio giant, WEBN.
Racing continues Sunday at Turfway with first post at 1:10pm.