Kenneth and Sarah Ramsey's homebred Faraway Kitten, eligible to be claimed for $50,000 three starts back, rallied under Adam Beschizza to win Saturday's Grade 3 American Derby at Arlington Park, the last of three graded stakes on the Arlington Million Preview Day program at the suburban Chicago racetrack.
Trained by Mike Maker, the 3-year-old colt by Kitten's Joy out of Far Isle, by Indian Charlie, saved ground into the stretch, then surged past 7-5 favorite Flying Scotsman and held off a late charge from The Last Dip and Crafty Daddy, who finished in a dead-heat for second. Bundibunan was fourth in the field of 11 3-year-olds. High Crime and Cornstarch were scratched. Faraway Kitten's winning margin was a neck, with the runners-up 1 3/4 lengths clear of the fourth-place finisher.
The American Derby win gave Beschizza back-to-back graded stakes wins on the day, having taken the G3 Arlington Handicap aboard favorite Bandua in the race before the American Derby
Faraway Kitten paid $32 to win after covering 1 1/16 miles on firm turf in 1:41.72. The winner carried high weight of 126 pounds under the allowance conditions, conceding from three to seven pounds to his rivals.
Squeezed a bit at the start and roughed up going into the first turn, Faraway Kitten moved up into contending position down the backstretch as Larry Rivelli-trained longshot Strong Will set the pace under pressure from Flying Scotsman – fractions were :23.59 for the opening quarter mile, :47.46 for the half and 1:11.46 for six furlongs.
Strong Will retreated quickly on the turn for home, with Flying Scotsman taking command, but Beschizza put Faraway Kitten in gear as the field straightened into the stretch. Faraway Kitten took the lead in the final furlong, clicking past the mile marker in 1:35.67, then held sway to the wire.
The American Derby was the first graded stakes success for Faraway Kitten, who was coming off a one-length victory in the Mystic Lake Derby at Canterbury Park June 22. Two starts earlier, Maker and the Ramseys risked losing Faraway Kitten, running the colt in a $50,000 claiming race at Churchill Downs on May 12. He won easily that day and now has a record of five wins and two thirds from nine career starts.
The American Derby is a prep for the G1 Secretariat Stakes on Arlington Million Day Aug. 10.
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