VANQUISHER TOPS KITTEN’S JOY

Kinsman Stable’s Vanquisher looks to win the seventh running of the $50,000 Kitten’s Joy Stakes as he faces nine rivals in the 1 1/16 mile turf race on Saturday at Colonial Downs. The race, for three year olds and up, is the first of three stakes races on the card.

Trained by Gregory Griffith, the five year old gelding won the Tallahassee Stakes earlier this year at Gulfstream after closing from eighth to first through the stretch. Most recently, Vanquisher finished third in the Blazing Sword Stakes at Calder and has now finished on the board in eleven of twenty-two starts. Alan Garcia has the mount aboard the 7-2 morning line favorite.

Independent George, the 4-1 Graham Motion-trained second choice, has not posted a win since the Sussex Stakes in May ’08 and has faced tough competition in the United Nations (Gr. I) and the Nijinsky (Gr. II). The six year old gelding most recently finished second in the Henry Clark Stakes and sixth in the Eclipse Stakes (Gr. III). Edgar Prado, who has the most Virginia Derby wins of any jockey, will be aboard.

9-2 third choice is Jungle Fighter, an eight year old gelding who is well-versed at Colonial Downs with two wins and one third in three tries. The Justin Nixon trainee most recently finished second after weakening late in the Da Hoss Stakes last month at Colonial. The track’s second leading rider, Sheldon Russell, has the mount.

Rounding out the field are Tiger Woodman, Izzy Speaking, winner of last month’s Da Hoss Stakes at Colonial, along with Baltimore Bob, Rockaby Bay, Jazz in the Park, Brickell, and CLN stalwart Mint Slewlep.

The Kitten’s Joy, named after Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s 2004 Virginia Derby winner (pictured above), is the ninth of twelve races on Colonial’s Saturday program, and kicks off an “All-Stakes Pick-3”.