Marketing Mix Overpowers Big Pucker Up Field
by Jack Shinar
Date Posted: 9/17/2011 7:29:02 PM
Last Updated: 9/19/2011 3:30:58 PM

Marketing Mix is in control in the Pucker Stakes at Arlington Park.
Photo: Four Footed Fotos

Favored Marketing Mix bettered 13 sophomore filly rivals to comfortably register her first graded stakes win in the $100,000 Pucker Up (gr. IIIT) on the Arlington Park turf course Sept. 17 (VIDEO).

Marketing Mix, an Ontario-bred filly trained by Tom Proctor for Glen Hill Farm, had proven her mettle against Canadian-bred opponents when she romped to victory in the Wonder Where Stakes in her turf debut July 31 at Woodbine.

In her first start since, the daughter of Medaglia d'Oro  --Instant Thought (by Kris S.) spurted away from the field in upper stretch for jockey Junior Alvarado. The 6-5 pick won easily by 3 1/4 lengths while stepping the 1 1/8-mile journey in 1:49.24 over firm ground.

Sean Fitzhenry bred Marketing Mix, a $150,000 Keeneland September yearling buy in 2009.

Always near the lead while saving ground, Marketing Mix tracked Love Dare through solid quarter-mile splits of :23.08, :48.41, and 1:13.31 before gaining a narrow advantage over Love Dare and Summer Savory leaving the final turn. She burst away from those two and was in command the rest of the way, reaching the eighth pole in front by four lengths.

Marketing Mix won under some urging from Alvarado as Sea Level Drive, rallying on the outside under Corey Lanerie at odds of 25-1, got up for second by a half-length over 46-1 Maid of Heaven and E.T. Baird.

“They were expecting a big race out of her and she didn’t disappoint,” Alvarado said. “I just wanted to make her relax and be comfortable. She broke well and relaxed right away behind the speed. At the quarter pole, I asked her and she responded. The rest was kind of easy.”

After beginning her career with a sixth-place finish at Gulfstream Park, Marketing Mix broke her maiden in her second start April 10 on Keeneland's Polytrack. She was transferred to Woodbine after that, finishing second in the Fury Stakes before competing in all three legs of Canada's Triple Crown for fillies.

She was third in the Woodbine Oaks and fourth in the Bison City on Woodbine's Polytrack before breaking through with her first stakes score, a 4 3/4-length tally in the $250,000 Wonder Where at 10 furlongs.

“Fourteen horses and (6-5) odds and that’s a lot of pressure,” said Craig Bernick, representing winning owner Glen Hill Farm. “Two races on the grass and she’s won pretty well both times. We always thought she’d do well on grass. She’s a Canadian-bred and the purses up there are huge so we ran her on (Polytrack) a few times.”

The third lifetime win in seven starts for the dark bay/brown filly was worth $54,600 and boosted her career bankroll to $341,945. Marketing Mix paid $4.60, $3.80, and $3.40.

Sea Level Drive returned $18 and $12.60, making a late rally to get up for second for trainer Leigh Bentley, who was saddling her first stakes starter. The exacta paid $81.40.

“I’m tickled to death,” Bentley said.  “I knew this filly was a nice one and she did us proud.”

Maid of Heaven finished third at odds of 45-1 and paid $13.40. The $1 trifecta was worth $1,800.40.

Summer Savory, Barbies M, Artemus Kitten, Angelica Zapata, Santina Dond, Trac N Jam, Triune, Seans Silverdancer, Happy Choice, Don't Tell Sophia, and Love Dare completed the order of finish.



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