Just how supportive is Ken Ramsey of the offspring of the stallion that’s launched him into uncharted territory heading into North America’s biggest racing event with the Breeders’ Cup just a week away? Consider the case of Hyper.
Winner of back-to-back distance races on the grass, including a strong score over the likes of Finnegan’s Wake and Boisterous in the Grade 2 Bowling Green last time out at Belmont, Hyper seemingly could merit a shot in the $3 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Nov. 2 at Santa Anita.
It wouldn’t be a stretch to see the 6-year-old son of Victory Gallop in the field for the 1 1/2-mile Turf, which certainly didn’t attract any Singspiels, High Chaparrals or Conduits from Europe and a fairly typical group from this side of the Atlantic Ocean.
Yet Hyper’s name did not appear on the list of 13 horses pre-entered for the Turf. He instead goes for the Ramseys and trainer Chad Brown in another Grade 1 test going 12 furlongs, Sunday’s $1 million Pattison Canadian International at Woodbine.
So how did that happen?
To hear Ramsey explain things, it wasn’t a difficult decision and boils down to simple stallion promotion.
“Hyper, he’s qualified to get in,” Ramsey said last week, sitting in the conference room at his Ramsey Farm in Nicholasville, Kentucky, just a few miles from the center of Lexington. “He won the Grade 2 and all that and the only reason he’s not going is because he’d have to go in the same race against Big Blue Kitten and Real Solution and if somebody’s going to beat a Kitten’s Joy, I don’t want it to be me.”
Big Blue Kitten, winner of the Grade 1 Sword Dancer and United Nations this summer, and Real Solution, winner of the Grade 1 Arlington Million, are indeed by Kitten’s Joy. The white-faced son of El Prado stands at Ramsey Farm and heads into this weekend as North America’s leading sire with $9,964,310 in progeny earnings through Friday. Fellow Kentucky stallions Speightstown and Giant’s Causeway are within $300,000 or so, making Ramsey’s decision a solid one.
But back to Hyper, the mark of consistency this season witih three wins, two seconds and two thirds. Hyper won the 1 5/8-mile John’s Call July 31 at Saratoga prior to winning the 1 1/4-mile Bowling Green a little more than a month later. He’s won 10 of 21 lifetime – the only failed attempts coming in group races in England – and racked up a bankroll of $554,700.
Hyper is the 5-1 third choice among the truly international cast of 11 entered in the race. The Roger Attfield-trained Forte Dei Marmi, winner of three straight in Canada after starting the season with three poor efforts, is the 3-1 favorite, while Juddmonte Farm’s Slumber is the 4-1 second choice off a close fourth behind Little Mike, Big Blue Kitten and Real Solution in the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Sept. 28 at Belmont.
Edward Dunlop ships the Irish-bred 2012 Canadian International winner Joshua Tree in from his Newmarket base for another try after finishing 13th in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe three weeks ago. Andreas Wohler brings German Group 1 winner Seismos and Nicholas Clement brings French Group 2 winner Now We Can.
The International is one of two Grade 1s at Woodbine Sunday along with the E. P. Taylor for fillies and mares going 10 furlongs on the grass. Tannery leads the field as she tries to step out of the shadow of divisional leader and stablemate Laughing, while Michael Matz brings Minakshi and Colonial Flag, one-two in the Grade 2 Canadian in mid-September, back from his Fair Hill base.
Read more about Michael Matz’s E. P. Taylor duo.
Entries for the E. P. Taylor and Canadian International.
Watch Hyper win 2013 John’s Call at Saratoga.