Big Blue Kitten continues return in Cliff Hanger

08/23/2014 1:55 PM

08/23/2014 2:01 PM

Oceanport, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) - Former United Nations winner Big Blue Kitten will continue his 2014 season with Sunday's Cliff Hanger Stakes going 1 1/8 miles over Monmouth Park's turf course.

Trained by Chad Brown, Big Blue Kitten is the 3-2 morning line favorite and will break from the outside post in the seven-horse field with "Jersey" Joe Bravo again riding. Bravo has been aboard the 6-year-old the previous six starts, picking up wins in last year's United Nations and Sword Dancer.

Big Blue Kitten, owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey, has just one start this year in the Lure Stakes on Aug. 2 at Saratoga. With Bravo in the saddle, Big Blue Kitten won his 2014 debut as the 17-10 favorite. It was his first race since last year's Breeders' Cup Turf in which he finished eighth.

"What a great horse," said Brown following the Lure victory. "I wasn't sure if I had him fit enough off the layoff but it seemed like a good spot to get him started. I told Joe (Bravo) if he won, it'd be terrific, but as long as he finished well we had some big plans for this horse later in the year. Lo and behold, he got through anyway on heart."

The 6-year-old has earnings of $1,238,530 with 11 wins from 20 starts.

Guys Reward, winner of last month's Oceanport Stakes, has drawn post 3 with Paco Lopez returning to ride the 7-year-old. Guys Reward, 7-2 in the program, is owned by Michael J. Bruder and trained by Dale Romans.

The Oceanport victory was the culmination of Guys Reward's progression from a 10th-place finish in February in Gulfstream Park's Canadian Turf.

"I thought he was waiting a little closer than he usually does," Romans said after the Oceanport win. "But it looked like he needed to. He's just a good, old hard campaigner. When the horse is right, he gives you his all, and he did that today."

Guys Reward began the year by winning the Tampa Bay Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs but improved with each following race after the Gulfstream fiasco. He was sixth in Churchill Downs' Turf Classic behind Wise Dan, fourth in the Monmouth Stakes and third to Silver Max in Churchill's Firecracker Stakes.

He has nine wins, five seconds and 11 thirds from 46 starts for $777,709.

Here is the field for the Cliff Hanger in post position order: Calvados, Javier Santiago, 8-1; Winning Cause, Eddie Castro, 3-1; Guys Reward, Paco Lopez, 7-2; Michael With Us, Gabriel Saez, 8-1; Vitium, Victor Santiago, 30-1; Plainview, Edgar Prado, 9-2 and Big Blue Kitten, Joe Bravo, 3-2

The Cliff Hanger has an approximate post time Sunday of 6:03 p.m. ET.

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