The Steve Asmussen barn kicked off the Saratoga meet in a winning way when its second starter, My Miss Aurelia, took the fifth race on opening day, a maiden special weight for two-year-old fillies. The performance earned the filly her own article on the NYRA website.
But arriving at the barn after the race, Team Asmussen found another baby that might well get even more attention this summer than My Miss Aurelia.
“Right after My Miss Aurelia won,” said Amy Kearns, “we got back from the test barn, and she was here.
“She was here in the shedrow, just all cuddled up in a little ball and had just barely opened her eyes.”
“She” is the tiniest, littlest black ball of fuzz. “She” is a kitten.
“So because My Miss Aurelia had just won, and it was the first day of the meet, Scott named her Lucky,” said Amy.
Scott is Scott Blasi, Asmussen’s assistant. Amy has worked in the Asmussen barn since 2007 and is best known to the racing public as the security person for Curlin and Rachel Alexandra.
Her caretaking responsibilities this summer might well exceed the demands of taking care of Horses of the Year.
“Steve and I immediately loved her and we asked Scott if we could keep him.”
Lucky goes home with Amy at the end of each day so that Amy can feed the kitten through the night. In her handler’s expert care, Lucky’s developed a plump little baby belly and eagerness to explore the world around her. She’s also discovered her voice and mews with authority.
The kitten has been known to sit on Asmussen’s desk while the trainer works. “She plays,” Amy said. No evidence of this exists…yet.
Asked how taking care of Lucky is different from taking care of Curlin and Rachel Alexandra, Amy said, “Lucky is much cuddlier.”
Used to the attention of having champions in the barn, Amy says that this year is a little different. “Nobody comes by and asks about the horses,” she said. “They all come to see Lucky.”
For the first few days, Amy held Lucky pretty much nonstop, but the active little kitten is now having none of that; Lucky, adorned in an Asmussen-blue sweater, is now attached to Amy by a leash.
Lucky might not have the PR machines that Curlin and Rachel Alexandra did, but she does have her own Facebook page, which you can “like” to get photos, videos, and news of the lucky little kitten throughout the Saratoga meet.