Emotional Kitten Seeks Another Graded Win in Gallorette

Field of 13 Entered for $150,000 Grade 3 Turf Stakes
           

BALTIMORE, MD., 05/14/15– Trainer Wesley Ward is hoping for a nice firm turn course Saturday when the gate opens for the $150,000 Stella Artois Gallorette Handicap (G3) on the 140th Preakness Day program at Pimlico Race Course.
 

That's because the mare in his charge, Emotional Kitten, finished a dull sixth in her tune-up race at Keeneland last month, which also marked her 2015 debut.

“There was a downpour there beforehand and the condition was soft turf,” Ward said. “She just wasn't into the race. I was thinking that it would be a nice easy comeback race and the field was just loaded with full-out bears.”

Ward believes that if he had it to do over, he would have scratched Emotional Kitten and looked for another spot.

“I should have just taken her out of there and waited,” he said.

The weather forecast for Saturday is promising with no showers expected until later in the day. The distance of 1 1/16 miles on the grass also appeals to Ward.

En route to nearly half a million dollars in earnings, Emotional Kitten has won four times and finished third once in seven starts at the distance, for purse earnings of $263,338.

Ward has competed three times in the Preakness, with little fortune. His best finish came last year when he was sixth with Pablo Del Monte, “but I’ve been lucky there in other races,” he said.

Emotional Kitten worked out at Churchill Downs Tuesday morning before shipping to Maryland on one of two charter flights Wednesday.

“She had a really nice last work,” Ward said. “Her last couple have been really good. I'm hoping to get her another graded win. She's a very nice one who always tries hard.”

The last graded victory for the 5-year-old daughter of Kitten's Joy out of Silent Emotion was in November of 2013, the Mrs. Revere (G2) at Churchill.

Fair Hill Training Center-based trainer Graham Motion will send out a pair of Gallorette runners in Dark Hollow Farm’s Joy and Mr. A.E. Oppenheimer’s Token of Love. Joy, 5, is a multiple stakes winner whose last victory came in the Perfect Sting last July at Belmont Park. She made a strong wide move to pass horses in the stretch and finish fifth by 2 ¼ lengths in the Dahlia Stakes April 18 at Pimlico. Bred in England, Token of Love owns three wins, two seconds and a third from seven starts in her home country, but will be making her North American debut.

Trainer Michael Matz, who won last year’s Gallorette with Somali Lemonade, saddles another European import making her first North American start. Augustin Stable’s Mango Diva won the Group 2 Kilboy Estate last year and the Group 3 Lavarack & Lanwades Stud Stakes in 2013.

High weight in the field at 122 pounds is Speedway Stable’s Hard Not to Like, winner of the 2014 Jenny Wiley (G1) who ran third in her defense of that title last month at Keeneland. She finished first in the Endeavour (G3) Jan. 31 at Tampa Bay Downs but was disqualified to second for interference.

Trainer Chad Brown goes after his third Gallorette victory, having won in 2012 with Zagora and 2013 with Pianist. Watsdachances has finished worse than third only four times in 15 lifetime starts with $617,082 in purse earnings and is multiple graded stakes placed.

Also entered are Run of the River and Fasnacloich, who ran 2-3, respectively, in the Dahlia; Bocaiuva, Cat’s Claw, Oscar Party, Pagan Princess and Sistas Stroll.