The Chad Brown-trained Big Blue Kitten raced from last of 12 horses after the first half mile to close to a length win over Twilight Eclipse in the 1 1/2-mile Grade I $600,000 Sword Dancer on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.
Brown, a Mechanicville native, said he had to give credit to rider Joe Bravo, who guided the 5-year-old son of Kitten's Joy from post position 2, earning another win for meet-leading owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey. Big Blue Kitten was a coupled entry with another Ramsey horse, Stormy Lord, who set the pace through the first mile before yielding.
“With that post, and there were some suspect horses around us, we said 'You're going to get behind horses early that you're going to need to pass at some point.' ” Brown said. “Joe just said, 'Well, I'll work it out.' And he did, and I wasn't worried. Mr. Ramsey's other horse set the pace for us, and I'm appreciative of that. The trainer helped us out, Mike Maker and the whole team. He did a good job of going out there and setting the pace, and Joe did the rest. He got in a little bit of trouble, and he can probably tell you better about it, at the quarter pole. How he got out, I don't know, but he did.”
Stormy Lord faded to 11th. Behind second-place Twilight Eclipse was Nutello, who got a head in front of 30-1 Tannery, a filly challenging the boys. Optimizer was eased in the backstretch and walked off.