Ticker Tape, runner-up as the favorite in the Del Mar Oaks (gr. IT) in her last start, atoned for that defeat with an authorative 2¾-length victory in the $200,000 Pucker Up Stakes (gr. IIIT) on Saturday at Arlington Park. Kent Desormeaux, who earlier this summer was aboard Kicken Kris, the adjudged victor in the Arlington Million (gr. IT), made a return trip to Chicago to guide the James Cassidy-trained daughter of Royal Applause who covered the 1 1/8-mile turf test in a meet-fastest 1:48.63 on firm going. The Pucker Up was Ticker Tape's fourth victory in an eight-race campaign that included a win in the American Oaks (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park in July. Owned by Jim Ford Inc., Daron Pearson and Jack Sweesy, she earned $120,000 Saturday to push her bankroll close to the million-dollar mark at $997,426. Desormeaux kept his filly well off the early pace and made his move with about a half-mile to run, getting the jump on Spotlight, who was co-favored with Ticker Tape. "At the half- mile pole, I was just sitting behind horses and I didn't do anything but let her go," Desormeaux said. "I always think about (not moving too soon), especially after getting nipped at the wire last time. It was such a tough, hard beat. She did everything the same today. She didn't give way and kept on coming. She really takes off when I let her go. Every time this filly goes out there, she runs her race." Cassidy indicated that Ticker Tape would be pointed to the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (gr. IT) on Oct. 16 at Keeneland, which would likely be the final start of her sophomore season. Spotlight, far back early, made a rally in the stretch to overtake Sister Swank for the second spot in the 11-horse field. "I had a good trip," said Rene Douglas, who rode the runner-up. "I was just on the second best horse. I followed the other filly around and then when I tried to move against her she just drew away from me. That's why she's the best."
Humorous Miss, Bonanza Jellybean, Skip Poker, Erhu, Dancing Liebling, Ms. Lydonia, Code of Ethics and Unbridled Echo completed the order of finish. Ticker Tape paid $4.40, $2.40 and $2.40. Spotlight paid $2.60 and $2.80 (prices OK). Sister Swank returned $5.40. (Chart, Equibase)