Royal Copenhagen Surges Late in Pucker Up

(from Arlington Park report)
Royal Copenhagen, a French-bred filly owned by Arlington Park chairman Richard L. Duchossois, rallied from far back to overtake prohibitive favorite Singhalese inside the sixteenth pole to win the $200,000 Pucker Up Stakes (gr. IIIT) by a half-length Saturday at the suburban Chicago racecourse.

Leading rider Shaun Bridgmohan rode the Laura de Seroux-trained daughter of Inchinor who covered the 1 1/8-mile event for 3-year-old fillies over good turf in 1:48.76. The 6-1 shot paid $14.20, $4 and $2.80.

Royal Copenhagen sat well off the pace set by 65-1 shot Extravagant Gal, who led through moderate fractions of :23.47, 47.17 and 1:12.69 before fading. Singhalese, the 1-2 post time choice, rallied three-wide at the top of the stretch and had a 1 ½-length lead at the eighth pole before being run down by the winner in deep stretch.

"I knew (Singhalese) was the horse to beat," said Bridgmohan, who was riding Royal Copenhagen for the first time Saturday. "I was behind her and, fortunately, I was able to clock her the whole time. When she moved, I decided I was going to move right behind her, and my filly just out-kicked her the last part and finished up really well. She was really running the last sixteenth of a mile, I didn't even hit her with the stick. She was doing everything I wanted her to, so I just hand rode her from there."

The Pucker Up was the first victory in the United States for Royal Copenhagen, who earned $120,000 for the win to boost her career bankroll to $278,318. Royal Copenhagen had finished second in five of her previous eight U.S. starts. It was a satisfying win for her owner, who has loftier goals for her next season.

"The race I'd really like to win is the Beverly D," said Duchossois, referring to the grade I race named for his late wife.

Singhalese was second, four lengths clear of third-place finisher Isla Cozzene. Singhalese paid $2.20 and $2.10 while Isla Cozzene returned $3.40.

"I'm a little aggravated," admitted Mike Smith, who rode the beaten favorite. "She was too close (early), but she was pulling hard and I didn't want to completely throw her down. But I probably should have. I tried to do a little of both, let her run but keep her back. I probably should have just taken her back."

You Dancing Devil, Siberian Amur, Special Grayce, Gallant Secret, Extravagant Gal, Sunny Disposition, Grat, and Quiero Ganar completed the order of finish.

(Chart, Equibase)