Big Blue Kitten wins Belmont’s Joe Hirsch Turf Classic

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NEW YORK (AP) Big Blue Kitten won the $600,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic in a course-record time Saturday at Belmont Park.

The 7-year-old ran 1 1/2 miles in 2:23.39, erasing the mark of 2:24.36 set by Fantastic Light in 2001.

Big Blue Kitten was trained by Chad Brown, who sent out three of the seven runners in the field.

Big Blue Kitten and jockey Joe Bravo settled far back in sixth before launching a four-wide bid on the final turn. They surged past the pack at the top of the stretch and had enough left to hold off Slumber, the third Brown horse in the race, by three quarters of a length with Twilight Eclipse third.

Big Blue Kitten earned $360,000 for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey.

The Joe Hirsch and the $400,000 Vosburg were Breeders’ Cup Challenge races, insuring the winners’ fees-paid spots in the season-ending championships next month at Keeneland.

Big Blue Kitten was already set for the $3 million Turf, having previously won a Challenge race in the United Nations Stakes at Monmouth Park in July. Big Blue Kitten paid $7, $3 and $2.30.

Slumber, running as a separate betting interest, returned $4.80 and $3.40, and Twilight Eclipse paid $3 to show.

Arabian Knight off Kentucky Derby trail; will return later

Matt Stone/Courier Journal/USA TODAY NETWORK

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Arabian Knight is off the Kentucky Derby trail.

Wagering has been suspended on the 3-year-old colt for the Derby’s future wager after owner Amr Zedan announced the decision. Arabian Knight was the second choice on the morning line behind favorite Forte for the May 6 race.

“Trainer Tim Yakteen wasn’t happy with his last work & we feel it’s in Arabian Knight’s best interest not to rush & allow him more time to develop,” Zedan tweeted. “We know he’s a superior talent & our plan is to point him toward a summer and fall campaign.”

Purchased for $2.3 million as a 2-year-old, Arabian Knight won his debut by 7 1/4 lengths at Keeneland last November. He made his 3-year-old debut in the Southwest at Oaklawn in January and won by 5 1/2 lengths.

Arabian Knight had his third workout at Santa Anita.

Tapit Trice wins Tampa Bay Derby, earns Kentucky Derby points

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TAMPA, Fla. — Tapit Trice rallied from last to win the $360,000 Tampa Bay Derby by two lengths and earn qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby.

Ridden by Luis Saez, Tapit Trice ran 1 1/16 miles 1:43.37. The 1-2 favorite in the field of 12 paid $3 to win. The 3-year-old colt earned 50 qualifying points, which places him in the 20-horse field for the Kentucky Derby on May 6.

Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher extended his record for most wins in the Grade 3 race to six. He already has the early Kentucky Derby favorite in Forte, who won the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream last weekend.

Classic Car Wash was second and Classic Legacy was another 1 1/4 lengths back in third.

Tapit Trice was making his stakes debut after winning two of three starts.

“Once he got clear down the lane, he really extended himself,” Pletcher said. ”I loved the way he finished up. He relished the two turns, and the longer he goes, the better he’ll get.”