Kitten’s Joy: Remembering a Turf Racing Legend
Kitten’s Joy, a former Champion Male Turf Horse and one of the top turf sires of the 21st century, has left a lasting legacy in the horse racing world. The beloved stallion passed away at the age of 21 at his Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm home in Xalapa, KY, due to an apparent heart attack. His death has left a void in the industry and has saddened all those who knew and admired him.
A Turf Icon
Kitten’s Joy, born and bred at Ramsey Farm, made a significant impact as a sire, particularly in turf racing. His impressive racing career included nine victories in 14 starts and earnings of over $2 million. In 2004, he was honored with the Eclipse Award for Champion Turf Horse after winning two Grade 1 races: the Secretariat Stakes at Arlington Park and the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont Park. Kitten’s Joy consistently performed at a high level, never finishing worse than second since transitioning to turf racing early in his career. Unfortunately, a knee injury led to his retirement from racing in 2005.
A Legendary Sire
Although Kitten’s Joy’s racing career was remarkable, his true impact came as a stallion. He became North America’s leading turf sire for six consecutive years from 2013 to 2018. Additionally, he held the title of North America’s leading sire by progeny earnings twice during that same period. With an initial fee of $25,000 in 2006, his popularity and success allowed his breeding fee to reach a staggering $100,000 in 2014.
Kitten’s Joy sired an impressive 112 stakes winners, including 15 Grade 1 winners and 15 millionaires. His progeny amassed more than $128 million in earnings, showcasing their exceptional talent on the racetrack. Some notable offspring include Big Blue Kitten, the 2015 Champion Male Turf Horse, and Stephanie’s Kitten, who achieved success in prestigious races such as the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf. Other Grade 1 winners bred by Kitten’s Joy include Bobby’s Kitten, Oscar Performance, Divisidero, Kitten’s Dumplings, Real Solution, and Tripoli.
Not limited to North America, Kitten’s Joy’s influence extended internationally. He produced notable winners like Hawkbill, who triumphed in the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic, and Roaring Lion, a four-time Group 1 winner in England and Ireland. Oscar Performance also added to Kitten’s Joy’s international success with a victory in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile in Canada.
A Profound Loss
The passing of Kitten’s Joy has left a significant void in the world of Kentucky stallions, impacting those involved in breeding top-level turf horses. In the span of just seven months, the industry has lost Kitten’s Joy, along with other influential stallions like English Channel and Get Stormy. The impact of their absence is deeply felt, and their contributions to the sport will be sorely missed.
John Sikura, the owner of Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm, expressed his sorrow over the loss of Kitten’s Joy, highlighting the stallion’s remarkable career and his significance to his own family and the Ramsey family. Sikura acknowledged that Kitten’s Joy’s passing is a tremendous loss for the entire horse racing industry.
Kitten’s Joy will forever be remembered as a turf racing legend whose influence extended far beyond his own accomplishments on the racetrack. His exceptional bloodline, remarkable offspring, and consistent success as a sire have solidified his place in the annals of horse racing history. While his physical presence may no longer be with us, his legacy will continue to thrive through the generations of talented horses he sired. Kitten’s Joy will forever remain an icon of the turf racing world.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What were Kitten’s Joy’s most significant achievements as a racehorse?
Kitten’s Joy had a stellar racing career, winning nine of his 14 starts and earning over $2 million in prize money. He was named the Champion Turf Horse of 2004 and secured victories in prestigious races such as the Secretariat Stakes and the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic. His consistency and talent on the turf made him a fan favorite.
2. How did Kitten’s Joy make his mark as a stallion?
Kitten’s Joy became renowned as one of the leading turf sires of the 21st century. He sired an impressive 112 stakes winners, including 15 Grade 1 winners and 15 millionaires. His progeny amassed over $128 million in earnings and achieved success on both domestic and international racing circuits.
3. Which of Kitten’s Joy’s offspring had notable racing careers?
Kitten’s Joy produced several exceptional horses, including Big Blue Kitten, Stephanie’s Kitten, Bobby’s Kitten, Oscar Performance, Divisidero, Kitten’s Dumplings, Real Solution, and Tripoli. These horses achieved victories in prestigious races and contributed to Kitten’s Joy’s reputation as a top turf sire.
4. What impact did Kitten’s Joy have on the breeding industry?
Kitten’s Joy’s success as a stallion made him highly sought after in the breeding industry. He was North America’s leading turf sire for six consecutive years and held the title of leading sire by progeny earnings twice. His influence extended globally, with his offspring winning races in various countries.
5. How significant is Kitten’s Joy’s loss to the horse racing industry?
Kitten’s Joy’s passing has left a profound impact on the horse racing industry, particularly among breeders and turf racing enthusiasts. His exceptional bloodline and the success of his progeny have left an indelible mark on the sport. His absence, along with the loss of other influential stallions, creates a void that will not easily be filled.