Veteran Phantom Currency Shows the Way in the $100,000 Kitten’s Joy Appleton
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – In his first start in over a year, Susan and Jim Hill’s Phantom Currency led from gate to wire Saturday to win the 70th running of the one-mile Kitten’s Joy Appleton (G3) by a half-length at Gulfstream Park.
The 6-year-old son of Goldencents was sent to the Hill’s Margaux Farm in Midway, Ky. last year to rehab a soft-tissue injury after back-to-back victories in an optional claimer and the Mac Diarmida (G2) at Gulfstream Park. He returned to trainer Brian Lynch’s care this winter and worked steadily for this comeback race.
As he had in his other five career victories, Phantom Currency went to the front out of the gate and kept on going. With jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. up, he maintained a one-length lead over his closest pursuer, Carpenters Call. He dug in in the stretch to edge Wolfie’s Dynaghost, who rallied up the rail. Carpenters Call was another half-length back in third.
Phantom Currency, the 5-2 favorite in the field of eight, completed the mile in 1:34.48 and paid $7.40 to win.
“You can’t beat back class,” Lynch said. “He trained awesome coming up to the race. We got some stiff works into him and he stood up to each one better than the next. Turning for home, I could see them riding hard behind him and Irad [Ortiz Jr.] had asked him – it gave me a helluva good feeling. To see him quicken up and finish up like he did, it was a helluva prep race for the Elkorn at Keeneland.”
Ortiz said the race went according to plan.
"We wanted to get a clean break and let him go,” Ortiz said. “If we can make the lead, that would be great, and that's what happened. He did everything I asked."