Frank Calabrese’s Romacaca held off Snow Top Mountain in a stretch-long duel to win the Modesty Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Arlington Park by a neck. (VIDEO)
The 6-year-old mare covered the 1 3/16 miles in 1:56.67 in the 56th running of the stakes for older fillies and mares. Favored Upperline, the 121-pound highweight, finished third at odds of 2-1.
Local rider Cisco Torres won his third race of the day while guiding Romacaca to the wire. Trained by Danny Miller, the Modesty winner is by Running Stag out of the Kris S. mare Romaca. She was bred in Florida by Cashel Stud.
She's All In, breaking from the hedge, set the early pace while being tracked closely by Romacaca with Snow Top Mountain and Pathway in attendance as the seven-horse field cruised through deliberate early fractions of :23.92, :49.62, and 1:14.37 over a “good” turf course.
As the field moved its way around the final bend Torres asked Romacaca for her run and she easily separated herself from She’s All In. Julien Leparoux put Barbara Hunter’s homebred Snow Top Mountain on the engine, and she responded by attacking Romacaca. After a mile in 1:39.26 the two battled to the line with Romacaca, on the inside, holding Snow Top Mountain to the line.
“This (mare) is just awesome and she gets better and better every time I've been on her,” said Torres. “I was going in there 100% confident. When (Snow Top Mountain) came to me, all that did was make my (mare) run a little harder.”
Upperline cleared the rest of the field and was gaining, but was not threat to the top pair, finishing 1 1/4 lengths back. Smart Sting was another length back in fourth and she was followed by Bizzy Caroline, She’s All In, and Pathway. Trac N Jam was scratched.
“We ran great,” said Leparoux, who rode the runner-up. “She got right up to (Romacaca) great and she really tried but the other horse took off again.”
Romacaca, who carried 119 pounds, paid $11, $6, $3.20. Snow Top Mountain paid $5.60 and $3.20 and Upperline returned $3. The 7-3 exacta paid $71.40.
“There was (some concern about the distance) but she's more and more settled now,” Miller said. “She's 6 and I really felt strongly she could do it. Right now we have to point for (the Beverly D.)”
Romacaca was winning for the fifth time in seven starts over the Arlington turf. In all she now has a 14-5-3 slate from 29 career starts. Twenty-seven starts have come on turf.
She returned to Arlington after wintering in South Florida where she ran second in the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf as the 3-2 favorite, and finished fifth in the one-mile Honey Fox Stakes (gr. IIT) at Gulfstream Park. At Calder Casino & Race Course, she trounced allowance foes before shipping to New Jersey where she ran fourth as the 7-5 choice in the Violet Handicap (gr. IIIT).
The Modesty, one of four graded stakes on the day’s card, is a prep for the Beverly D. (gr. IT) to be run at Arlington on Arlington Million Day Aug. 18.