Dust and Diamonds gears up for Pletcher debut; Romacaca ready for South Beach
Date Posted: 12/2/2012 4:16:41 PM
Last Updated: 12/7/2012 12:28:04 PM
Trainer Todd Pletcher has two of the most accomplished filly and mare
sprinters nominated for Saturday's Grade 3, $100,000 Sugar Swirl Stakes going
six furlongs at Gulfstream Park, and both turned in half-mile workouts at Palm
Meadows Sunday morning.
Dust and Diamonds was timed in an easy :52 in advance of her debut for new
connections, while Turbulent Descent drilled in a bullet :47, tying for the
fastest of 23 moves at the distance on the fast main track. Both four-year-olds
are kept on edge for their first start since the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare
Sprint at Santa Anita on November 3.
Formerly trained by Steve Asmussen, Dust and Diamonds ran a big race to
finish second behind probable Eclipse champion Groupie Doll in the seven-furlong
Filly & Mare Sprint. In her prior start, the daughter of Vindication posted a
sharp score in the Grade 2 Gallant Bloom Handicap at Belmont Park on September
Dust and Diamonds later sold for $900,000 at Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November,
just a couple of days following the Breeders' Cup. She will now sport the colors
of Stud TNT, which transferred her to Pletcher. Her first work for the barn was
a :48 3/5 half-mile breeze at Palm Meadows last Sunday.
Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith's Turbulent Descent didn't
fire her best shot in the Breeders' Cup, checking in a well-beaten seventh after
finishing fourth behind Dust and Diamonds in the Gallant Bloom. However, the
Florida-bred daughter of Congrats is obviously capable of better as the winner
of the Grade 1 Ballerina Stakes at Saratoga in August and the Grade 1 Test
Stakes there the summer before for previous connections.
At Gulfstream Park, Frank Calabrese's Romacaca breezed five furlongs in 1:02
4/5 ahead of next Sunday's $100,000 South Beach Stakes. Jockey Francisco Torres
was in the saddle for the work over a track rated good.
"She didn't go all that fast, but the track was a little heavy and the 'dogs'
were up," trainer Danny Miller said. "But 'Cisco' said she's never breezed any
better for him."
A Florida-bred daughter of Running Stag who has earned $866,992, Romacaca
made the first four starts of her career at Gulfstream Park early in 2009, and
is on target to make her 32nd trip to the post. The six-year-old mare comes off
a wire-to-wire victory by 1 3/4 lengths in the October 6 Indian Maid Handicap at
Hawthorne, and looms as the possible favorite in the South Beach, a 7
1/2-furlong turf test.
Torres has ridden Romacaca in her last three starts in Chicago, winning the
Grade 3 Modesty Handicap and finishing seventh in the Grade 1 Beverly D Stakes
at Arlington Park in July and August prior to the Indian Maid.
Romacaca currently represents a one-horse stable for Miller, one of several
horsemen at Gulfstream this winter who has horses trapped at Hawthorne currently
because of the equine herpes virus outbreak first detected not long after the
"I've got 12 horses still up there -- five of them that I was going to bring
here," Miller said. "We don't know when they might get out. Romacaca was
consigned to the Fasig-Tipton (November) sales but didn't meet her reserve (when
bidding stopped at $245,000) and came back to me. She missed a couple of weeks
of training, but that won't be a problem. She's ready."
Romacaca is in Miller's care for the second time in her career.
"I got her after she was claimed here (for $25,000 on April 17, 2009),"
Miller said. "She won her next three starts off the claim at Arlington Park, an
allowance and two minor stakes races before a game runner-up effort in the
(Grade 3) Pucker Up Stakes.
"I got her back at Arlington this summer and she won the Modesty," he added.
"She ran a good race in the Beverly D (beaten five lengths for it all) but that
was a tougher spot and she was pressed all the way on the lead (by Irish invader
Up). She's matured as she's gotten older and learned to relax in her races. She
went a mile-and-three-sixteenths winning the Modesty, so I don't think it was
just the distance in the Beverly D."
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