(from Arlington Park release)
Victorious in her past five races, Romacaca makes her graded stakes debut when she heads a full field of a dozen 3-year-old fillies entered for the $200,000 Pucker Up Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Arlington Park Sept. 7.
The nine-furlong test is part of Arlington’s annual "Labor Day Turf Showcase" with nine of the day’s 10 races carded for the lawn.
A Florida-bred daughter of Running Stag owned by Frank Calabrese, Romacaca lost the first two starts of her career on dirt but has been undefeated since switching to grass. Claimed by her current connections for $25,000 after her second victory, the Danny Miller-trained filly captured three more turf races – an optional claiming allowance race in June, the Diamond Ring Stakes on Million Preview Day July 11, and the Hatoof Stakes on Arlington Million Day Aug. 8. E. T. Baird, who has been aboard the filly since she was claimed, gets a return call for the Pucker Up.
Among those slated to face the 3-1 morning line favorite are graded stakes winners Hot Cha Cha, Peach Brew, and C. S. Silk. All three earned their graded scores over synthetic surfaces.
Hot Cha Cha, owned by Nelson McMakin, captured the Bourbonette Oaks (gr. III) at Turfway Park in March and then finished second in her turf debut in Keeneland's Appalachian (gr. IIIT) April 16. In July, she ran third, beaten only a half-length, in the Regret (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs. Last out, she ran third, again beaten only a half, in the Arlington Oaks (gr. III) over Polytrack. James Graham will be aboard the Philip Sims-trained daughter of Cactus Ridge.
Robert Zoellner’s Peach Brew picked up her biggest score to date in her most recent start when she rallied to win the Arlington Oaks July 18. The daughter of Milwaukee Brew has made only two starts on turf, with her best finish being a second in the Cimarron Stakes at Remington Park last fall. Quincy Hamilton returns from Oklahoma to pilot the Donnie K. Von Hemel charge.
C. S. Silk, winner of the Arlington-Washington Lassie (gr. III) at Arlington one year ago, has won her only start on turf. The daughter of Medaglia d'Oro captured a second-level allowance race on the Churchill Downs lawn in June. In her last start, the Dale Romans trainee set the pace before fading to fifth in the Arlington Oaks.
Another who figures prominently is Southern California invader Hameildaeme, who comes in off a fourth-place run in the Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT) Aug. 22. Previously, the Great Britain-bred daughter of Storming Home ran third in the San Clemente Handicap (gr. IIT), also on the Del Mar sod. Regular rider Danny Sorenson has the call on the James Lloyd pupil, who is owned by Newmarket Thoroughbred Racing.
$200,000 Pucker Up Stakes (gr. IIIT, Race 9, 5:11 p.m.), 3-Year-Old Fillies, 1 1/8 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Kiss Mine (KY), T Farina, 116, D R Vance
2. Hot Cha Cha (KY), J Graham, 122, P A Sims
3. Peach Brew (OK), Q Hamilton, 122, D K Von Hemel
4. C. S. Silk (KY), M Mena, 118, D L Romans
5. Napoleon's Retreat (IL), C A Emigh, 116, S Becker
6. Embers Glowing (KY), J K Court, 116, W Bradley
7. Prytania (FL), J Alvarado, 116, T F Proctor
8. Bill's Presence (KY), F Geroux, 116, D Matthews
9. Single Solution (KY), E E Perez, 116, C M Block
10. Hustle (FL), I Karlsson, 116, R Malek
11. Romacaca (FL), E T Baird, 120, D L Miller
12. Hameildaeme (GB), D Sorenson, 116, J Lloyd