Snow Dance, the 9-10 favorite in the 12-horse field, beat Kiss the Devil by 1 3/4 lengths Saturday to win the $150,000 Pucker Up Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Arlington Park. Snow Dance, with Craig Perret aboard, rallied from third at the top of the stretch and battled 81-1 longshot Curious Conundrum before pulling clear in the final furlong of the 1 1/8-mile event run on firm turf.
Kiss the Devil and three other horses -- including Curious Conundrum, who ended up fifth -- finished in a close bunch.
Perret earned his third Pucker Up win Saturday and his first since 1969. He also won the 1968 renewal of the race.
"Chicago has always been good to me," said Perret, who got his start in 1967 at Arlington. "When I come back here, it brings back the memory of the early days and it's still nice being here."
Snow Dance's victory was worth $90,000, bringing her career earnings to $279,450.
Snow Dance (Forest Wildcat--Northern Pageant, by Spectacular Bid) covered the distance in 1:47.93, and paid 3.80, $3.40, and $2.60. Kiss the Devil returned $8.40 and $6. Twilite Tryst was third in the field of 3-year-old fillies and paid $8.20. The exacta paid $38.40.
Sluice finished fourth, followed by Curious Conundrum, Scoop, Sheikh Away, Casual Feat, Glory Glory, Natasha Pumpkin, Atomizer, and Sharky's Review.
"She's getting the idea and she's not as rough to handle as she was before," Perret said of Snow Dance. "I was kind of concerned going into the first turn because she was so relaxed and it was the first time she was off the lead. I said, 'Uh oh. I hope she'll pick it up when I need her.' And when I needed her, she was there. She's a filly with a real bright future."
John C. Oxley's Snow Dance may next race at Keeneland in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (gr. IT), according to Yvonne Azeff, assistant to trainer John T. Ward Jr.
"The next spot will probably by the Queen Elizabeth II and then it's up to Mr. Oxley and Mr. Ward where we go form there," Azeff said.
Azeff is also the exercise rider for Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Monarchos.
"(Monarchos) has just started back under tack," Azeff said. "Hopefully by the first of the year, we'll be looking for a spot." (Chart, Equibase