Another Romance and Luca Panici come home strong to win the Azalea Stakes at Calder.

Another Romance and Luca Panici come home strong to win the Azalea Stakes at Calder.

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Patience Pays for Another Romance in Azalea

Florida-bred filly rallies from last in nine-horse field.

Benefiting from a patient ride by Luca Panici, Another Romance rallied from last to win the six-furlong Azalea Stakes (gr. III) on the “Summit of Speed” card at Calder Casino & Race Course July 7 (VIDEO) .
Exclusively Maria jumped out to the early lead, zipping through a fast early quarter in :21.03, before being overtaken by 5-2 favorite Citizen Advocate as those two got the half in :44.32. As Citizen Advocate opened a clear lead inside the eighth pole, Another Romance unleashed a sustained rally in the stretch to overtake the favorite and win by 1 ¾ lengths.

The winning time was 1:12.02 as Another Romance posted her second consecutive stakes win and fourth career victory in 15 starts. The 3-year-old daughter of Saint Anddan, who won the Leave Me Alone Stakes previous to the Azalea, has earned $224,195 for owners Lewis Pell, Michael Eigner, and Pinnacle Racing Stable. Pinnacle also won the Princess Rooney with champion Musical Romance later on the card.

The winner paid $11.20, $5.00, and $2.80. Citizen Advocate returned $3.80 and $3.00, and Redbud Road was $3.20 for show.

“That’s her style (coming from far off the pace),” said winning trainer Bill Kaplan. “That’s the way she is and also what makes her so good.”

“There was more speed in the race this time, but it set up very much like her last race (the Leave Me Alone Stakes on June 9),” Panici said. “With her, you have to see the right way to move her to get through, but when she gets going, she is a lot of horse.”

“The number six (Exclusively Maria) was sent and I stayed close and put her away at the half-mile pole, and then the other filly (Redbud Road) came to me; it was ridiculous,” said Cornelio Velasquez, who rode Citizen Advocate. “My filly tried hard and went away from them in the stretch, but she got tired late.”

Bred in Florida by Beverley Tortora and Dr. Alice Russell, Another Romance was purchased by Kaplan for $23,000 at the 2011 Ocala Breeders’ Sales Company’s June 2-year-olds in training sale.