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September 25, 2005     E-mail this page to a friend!

Kitten’s Joy, the 2004 Eclipse Award winner as Champion Male Turf Horse, has been retired, it was announced today by Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey, the owners and breeders of the four-year-old El Prado colt. Kitten’s Joy will stand the 2006 breeding season at Ramsey Farm in Nicholasville, Ky.
Winner of nine of fourteen career starts, Kitten’s Joy retires with career earnings of $2,075,791. He won six of eight starts in his three-year-old campaign last year and defeated older horses in the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic en route to his Eclipse Award honors. Kitten’s Joy was also one of three finalists, along with Ghostzapper (winner) and Smarty Jones, for 2004 Horse of the Year. His exploits contributed greatly to Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey winning an Eclipse Award as Champion Owner of 2004. In 2005, Kitten’s Joy raced twice, winning the July 4 Firecracker Breeders’ Cup Handicap at Churchill Downs and finishing second in the August 13 Arlington Million at Arlington Park.
“After the loss in the Arlington Million, we went over him with a fine tooth comb and could find nothing wrong with him,” said Kenneth Ramsey. “We worked him again, and he didn’t work as well as we expected, so we then had Dr. Steven Allday take a series of digital x-rays on him and Dr. Allday detected some slight wear and tear in the cartilage around the left knee from which a bone chip had been removed late last year. Dr. Allday thought that the area might be stinging Kitten’s Joy when he got a little tired. Dr. Allday then went over the digital x-rays with Dr. Larry Bramlage who had performed the surgery on Kitten’s Joy last year. Dr. Bramlage agreed with Dr. Allday’s assessment and felt that Kitten’s Joy could continue racing, but possibly not at the Grade I level. At that point, I made the decision to retire him. I don’t want to cheapen the horse and race him if he’s not 1,000% able to compete at the highest levels of the sport. I’m into the racing end of the sport much more than the breeding end, so it breaks my heart to make this decision, but Kitten’s Joy has been very good to my family and we want to do what’s best for him. We want to treat him like the champion that he is.”
Kitten’s Joy will stand the 2006 breeding season at Ramsey Farm in Nicholasville, Ky., alongside fellow Ramsey Farm stallion Catienus. A 2006 stud fee for Kitten’s Joy has yet to be determined. “Kitten’s Joy has a genetic pool that just won’t quit,” said Ramsey. “But we want to stand him for a low enough fee that small breeders with good mares will be able to afford to breed to him. Right now there appears to be a dearth of grass stallions in the U.S., and we think Kitten’s Joy will be very well received. Based on input from a geneticist with whom I consult, I believe he also has the potential to produce top-flight dirt runners if mated with suitable mares.”