Kitten's Dumplings continues owner Ramsey's dominance with Queen Elizabeth II win

Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Kitten's Dumplings outgamed favored Alterite by a neck in the Grade I $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland on Saturday. The Ramseys lead the nation in earnings and stakes wins.
Ken and Sarah Ramsey's Kitten's Dumplings outgamed favored Alterite by a neck in the Grade I $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland on Saturday. The Ramseys lead the nation in earnings and stakes wins.

The actions of Ken and Sarah Ramsey's horses have done all the necessary talking for the couple this season, with Kitten's Dumplings' sweeping victory in the $400,000 Queen Elizabeth II Cup over eight other sophomore turf fillies further driving home the message.

Ken Ramsey, he of the never-ending stream of consciousness, the man who is never, ever at a loss for words, is running out of ways to describe what has transpired for his operation in 2013.

For those who may not be aware of what has gone down for Ramsey Farm these last 10 months, Saturday's Grade I Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup told Keeneland's fall record crowd of 32,717 all it needed to know about one of the most dominant story lines in Thoroughbred racing.

"I don't know what to say," Ken Ramsey said. "I've about run out of adjectives."

It is hard to recall in recent times when one owner so thoroughly reigned over every circuit he or she entered. The numbers for the Ramseys continue to stagger, leading the nation in earnings, stakes wins and graded stakes victories with six meet titles — and counting — to their credit.

When jockey Julien Leparoux pressed go and moved Kitten's Dumplings out five wide around the final turn en route to her stretch run, the daughter of Kitten's Joy kicked on to notch the sixth Grade I win for the Ramsey clan this year and became the seventh confirmed horse slated to carry the farm's red and white colors at next month's Breeders' Cup World Championships.

"We've been super blessed. Every Kitten's Joy I've got is probably worth $500 more right now than they were an hour ago," Ken Ramsey said. "I didn't think we'd do this well (this year) but all the pieces have fallen into place.

"Breeders' Cup, here we come, again. She won enough to pay her way in (to the Filly & Mare Turf)."

Like a majority of her partners in crime, Kitten's Dumplings is a product of the Ramseys' leading homebred sire Kitten's Joy, who himself has 22 stakes winners to date in 2013 and is the current top-ranked stallion on the general sire list.

Ramsey regaled the post-race media with how he turned down an offer of $20 million for a 49 percent share of Kitten's Joy this spring — and the sire's high-spirited bay daughter showed Saturday why her owner is bent on retaining all control over his foundation stallion.

Though her closing ability earned Kitten's Dumplings three consecutive victories this spring, including scores in the Grade III Regret and Grade II Lake George Stakes, her pre-race nerves and a tepid pace led her to run fourth in the Grade I Del Mar Oaks on Aug. 17.

"I understand she acted up before the race so this morning I called the stewards to get permission to get her out of the post parade (early) here," Ramsey said. "I don't know if it helped or not but ... energy expended before the race takes its toll in the stretch, so she might have saved enough energy by not acting up in here."

Sitting third from last in the field of nine down the backstretch, Kitten's Dumplings got the fractions she needed when Leigh Court went in :23.27 and :46.56 over the firm turf with I'm Already Sexy about a length back in second.

While advancing on the far outside around the final turn, Kitten's Dumplings — sent off at 7-to-2 odds — engaged with race favorite and Grade I winner Alterite making her run one path inside of her. The two kicked on in tandem down the lane with Kitten's Dumplings edging clear late to win by a neck in a final time of 1:48.43 for the 11⁄8-mile race.

"She needs more schooling in the winner's circle. She looked a little nervous in there," said Mike Maker, trainer of Kitten's Dumplings.

"They were going a little faster than I anticipated, but she came down the lane and put up a good fight and got beat by a nice horse," said jockey John Velazquez of his mount Alterite. The Hall of Famer heads into Sunday just $26,519 shy of Pat Day's all-time North American earnings record total of $297,914,839.

The Ramseys also had Grade I-placed Emotional Kitten run seventh in the QEII, but Ken Ramsey had declared Kitten's Dumplings the better of his two chances going in.

With six wins from 12 career starts, she could just as easily jump up in what figures to be a wide-open edition of the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

"That may be a big order for her but if you're not in it you can't win it," Ramsey said. "She was laying just perfect today. And when (the Kitten's Joys) kick, they come on just like their old man."