Cellars Shiraz the Toast of Frances Genter

The hometown favorite Cellars Shiraz won her seventh stakes race of 2002, taking Saturday's $100,000 Frances A. Genter Stakes at Calder Race Course by 2 1/2 lengths.

Ridden by jockey Eibar Coa, Cellars Shiraz overcame some early problems to get into a stalking position behind the early pace set by August Storm in the 7 ½-furlong turf event. At the quarter pole, the 3-year-old daughter of Kissin Kris began to make her move. Turning for home, she gained the lead, extending her advantage while cruising down the stretch.

Cellars Shiraz won by 2 ½ lengths over Madeira Mist, who finished a half- length in front of May Gator.

"She broke a step slow and they kind of outran her for the first turn and I was in trouble," Coa said. "I was thinking, I was going to be in trouble if I didn't find room soon. I had to give her just a small push to get to the outside of the horses, just to get clear. When she got to the outside she was a different horse. She started running at the three-eighths. That's where she wants to be – outside and free."

Bill Cesare trains Cellars Shiraz for Bitterroot Racing Stable, Robert and Corinne Walker, who also bred the filly. The victory pushes the filly's lifetime bankroll to over $565,000. She covered the distance in 1:29 2/5 and paid $7.00 for the win.

Cesare said Cellars Shiraz would go on to the Sunshine Millions Jan. 25th, in a 1 1/8-mile test on turf.

"The good thing is that race is here (rather than Santa Anita), and it is restricted, although I know there are some nice Florida-breds and California-breds that will be in it," he said. "I think this filly is going to go on and be a very good 4-year-old and can run on turf or dirt."

(Chart, Equibase)