Chraming Kitten, Dewey Square among field of 11 in turf test
By J.J. Hysell
Gary Contessa’s Rydilluc has dominated in two straight races since moving from dirt to turf. The son of Medaglia d’Oro shows the qualities of a rising star, and he’ll get his chance to prove it in Sunday’s Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
This will be the toughest test yet for Rydilluc, who is jumping from an allowance win to stakes company. With Edgar Prado aboard, he’ll face ten foes, including Kentucky Derby hopeful Dewey Square making his grass debut and the talented Charming Kitten.
Charming Kitten, trained by Todd Pletcher, appears to be right in his element with longer distances. He was a late-rallying second in the one-mile Dania Beach and followed up with a win over a decent field in the Kitten’s Joy at 1 1/16-miles. He has raced exclusively on turf and synthetic, but pedigree indicates he’d do well on dirt as well if offered the opportunity in the future. John Velazquez gets the call.
When asked if Charming Kitten could be considered for a Kentucky Derby prep next, owner Ken Ramsey replied, “We considered trying to go to the Derby with Kitten’s Joy. Jerry Bailey was riding him early that year and he said ‘He just doesn’t have the same kick on dirt,’ and recommended keeping him on turf. It turned out to be good advice.
“The Derby is very much on by bucket list and we’ll see how he does in the race Sunday and discuss the possibilities with Todd. We’ll do what’s right for the horse.”
Trainer Dale Romans is taking a different approach with Dewey Square. The son of Bernardini performed well at Churchill Downs, but never looked comfortable in his seventh-place finish in the Holy Bull. Romans indicated the colt could go to the Blue Grass Stakes after this race and currently remains on the Derby trail. Javier Castellano will guide him from post 4.
Dewey Square is one of three entries for Romans, who also sends out Squall King and Summit County.
Graham Motion’s Holiday Star defeated the much-heralded Bold Dance, a half-brother of Saint Liam, in his last outing at 1 1/8-miles and has won two straight on turf. The son of Harlan’s Holiday will break from post 10 with Joe Rocco, Jr.