Real Solution (outside) won the Arlington Million via disqualification on Aug. 17. (Photo courtesy of Melissa Bauer-Herzog)
Real Solution’s win in the race made him their second horse to qualify for the Breeders’ Cup Turf through the “Win and You’re In” program as Big Blue Kitten (who also won a Grade 1 race for the Ramseys on Saturday) won the United Nations last month to earn his spot in the Turf.
Don’t let the disqualification that gave Real Solution the Million win sway you, there’s little doubt the horse would have won if The Apache hadn’t drifted out and bumped him in the stretch.
Real Solution’s class was apparent early when he started his career at two in Europe. He was sent to Italy in gratitude to some doctors who asked Mr. Ramsey to send a few horses to the country after they helped his wife with a health problem and the rest is history.
“It was out of gratitude, these people represent Italian racing,” Ken Ramsey said. “One of them, John D’Amato, a good friend of mine, and another one is a dermatologist and professor at the University of Miami. They asked me about sending some horses over there and I said, ‘Yes, I’d be glad to send three over.’ So we had a meeting and I said come out to Ocala and pick out three you’d be satisfied with, and they came out and picked out three. One of them was Real Solution and the other one was a nice allowance winner and the other one couldn’t outrun a fat man going downhill.”
Real Solution was a star in Italy, winning his first two starts by a combined margin of 9 ½ lengths. The colt moved up to stakes company and demolished that field, too, finishing five lengths in front of the second-place horse. He went off as the favorite in the Italian Derby, but for the first time in his career he didn’t win, finishing sixth.
It was found that Real Solution had an excuse for his bad run as he came out of the race with a bad lung infection. It took months to clear the infection up and when the horse returned and finished second in September 2012, it was the end of his Italian career.
“[I sent Real Solution] over here because with the lung infection. We figured he’d probably need Lasix [furosemide] because his lungs were damaged, so we thought it’d be best to bring him back to the states where you can run him on Lasix,” Ramsey explained.
Real Solution has spent the last year in the United States with trainer Chad Brown. He finished fourth in his American debut but his connections had enough faith in him to send him to the Grade 1 Manhattan Handicap. He finished third to Point of Entry and Optimizer, setting him up perfectly for the Arlington Million.
REAL SOLUTION AFTER WINNING ARLINGTON MILLION
Photo courtesy of Melissa Bauer-Herzog
Real Solution had some trouble getting room to run around the far turn in the Arlington Million, but once he was clear he closed in on leader The Apache like a freight train. The Apache had his head in front at the finish line but after an inquiry was launched and the stewards talked to the riders and watched a head-on replay of the stretch run, they swapped the position of the top two horses. Jockey Alan Garcia thought Real Solution would have been a clear winner had there been no interference.
“Well, he broke really good … he was nice and relaxed,” Garcia said of Real Solution. “At the top of the stretch, I had plenty of horse to go by and the other horse bumped us more than four times, made me lose my momentum. If that didn’t happen we might have won by two or three lengths.”
Real Solution topped his 118 Equibase Speed Figure from the Manhattan with his win, earning a 119 in the Million. If he runs in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, he will be going 1 ½ miles for the first time, but that shouldn’t be much of a worry. He didn’t look tired in the last furlong of the Million, in fact, he seemed like he could have gone the extra quarter of a mile with no problem.
Real Solution beat some of the same contenders he may run into at the Breeders’ Cup if the Ramseys take that route with the horse. With wins by Admiral Kitten in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes at Arlington, two races before the Million, and Big Blue Kitten’s Sword Dancer win, Ramsey needs to figure out who is going where this fall and who will target the Breeders’ Cup Turf.
ARLINGTON MILLION STRETCH RUN
Photo courtesy of Melissa Bauer-Herzog
Real Solution is by the Ramseys’ top-class sire Kitten’s Joy, who was also a top-class racehorse for the owners, winning champion turf male honors in 2004 after a standout season. By El Prado, Kitten’s Joy was a seven-time graded stakes winner who ended his career with a second in the 2005 Arlington Million, retiring soon after due to injury.
Kitten’s Joy was definitely a turf router, only winning at less than 1 1/16 miles once, that win coming at a mile in the Firecracker Breeders’ Cup Handicap in his second-to-last start. His average-winning distance was a little under 9 ½ furlongs and he proved he could go the Breeders’ Cup distance, winning the 1 ½-mile Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational by an easy 2 ½ lengths.
Kitten’s Joy has proved to be a good sire, with five Grade 1 winners in 2013 and three champions overall from five crops of racing age. He has shown that he can sire talented foals that can also cut back to a mile, making him an interesting sire. Big Blue Kitten is his leading earner this year, followed by Real Solution, with both males and females filling out the rest of the top 10. Ironically, the first Kitten’s Joy to have the name Real Solution is in the third position.
Stephanie’s Kitten, Kitten Joy’s first Breeders’ Cup winner, originally was named Real Solution but earned the Kitten name when Ken Ramsey realized he had named Kittens for all of his grandchildren except one. The name Real Solution seems to be a lucky charm for Ramsey as both horses went on to win Grade 1 races.
While Real Solution’s first two dams are a little light on black type (stakes performance), his third dam, Northabout, brings in quite a bit of stakes success. Not only has she produced a stakes-placed runner, but her daughters have gone on to produce both dirt and turf stakes winners, including a champion grass horse in Peru.
Real Solution’s family gets even deeper the farther back you go. His fourth dam, Alluvial, is the dam of 1984 champion older male champion Slew o’ Gold and 1979 Belmont Stakes winner Coastal, both half-brothers to Northabout, in addition to being the grandam of 2001 Jockey Cub Gold Cup winner Aptitude.
Real Solution may not have the normal Kitten moniker that many of the Ramseys’ Kitten’s Joy offspring do but as Ken Ramsey said on Saturday: “A kitten by any other name is still a kitten.”
If this kitten continues to run like many of the others standouts by his sire, Real Solution may be the real deal when he loads into the starting gate of one of the Breeders’ Cup races in November. If he can win the Breeders’ Cup Turf, he will be the second Million winner to win the Breeders’ Cup Turf in the same year.