Vacare Waves Good-Bye to Pucker Up Foes

(from Arlington Park report)
Making just her third career start, unbeaten Lothenbach Stables' homebred Vacare left the field behind in winning Saturday's $200,000 Pucker Up (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares by four lengths on the Arlington Park turf.

In spite of her inexperience, the Chris Block-trained Vacare couldn't hide from the bettors. They sent her off as the second choice in the field of nine.

Vacare closed from far back to win her first two starts, but under regular rider Carlos Marquez, she was close to the front all the way around this time. The daughter of Lear Fan--Appealing Storm (Valid Appeal) covered the nine furlongs over firm turf in 1:49.71.

She broke on top before settling behind pacesetter Walklikeanegyptian after bearing out on the first turn. She began to move up on the leader on the turn for home, took command in the stretch, and drew off for the easy score. She earned $120,000 for the victory, to boost her bankroll to $156,000.

"When those doors opened, she left there like a Quarter Horse," Marquez said. "It was my job to get her settled the best I could. When Jose (jockey Ferrer on Walklikeanegyptian) went on, I was able to get her settled a little bit on the backside. I knew, when we got to the five-sixteenths pole, that it was over because I had a lot of horse. She's all race horse. She's very competitive."

Vacare broke her maiden at Arlington on the turf course by four lengths June 9 and followed that with a 5 ¾-length score in a first-level allowance July 26. A projected start in the Hatoof Stakes, the local prep for the Pucker Up, was scrapped when she came up with a cough.

"When we missed the prep race, I was a little worried," admitted Block. "This filly is really talented, and I thought she could overcome the lack of experience. She wasn't real sick, she just had a little bit of mucus production that was abnormal; and I didn't want to run her in the prep and knock her out and not be here today."

Vacare paid $6, $4.20, and $3.

The Irish-bred Walklikeanegyptian ($8.20, $4.60) held second by a head over closer Ballet Pacifica ($4.60), who finished third under Eddie Martin Jr. in the nine-horse field.

My Chickadee, Chetten County, Ladyburn, Palace Rumor, 9-5 favorite Soothsay, and Royal Dazzle completed the order. Precious Kitten scratched.

(Chart, Equibase)