Local Delicatessa a Spot for Pucker Up Surprise?

(From track report)
Barr H. Inman's Delicatessa, dismissed as a longshot in early projections and sure to be overlooked in the wagering, will be making her grass debut in Saturday's Pucker Up Stakes (gr. IIIT) for 3-year-old distaffers at 1 1/8 mile over the Arlington Park lawn.

She just graduated from "non-winners of one other than" company in her last start, and her only previous stakes competition was in an event restricted to state-breds, but Delicatessa's heritage indicates a preference for turf that could make her worthy of consideration.

Delicatessa is by Dare And Go, a horse known primarily for bringing Cigar's 16-race win streak to an end in the 1996 Pacific Classic (gr. I) on the dirt at Del Mar. But earlier in his career here at Arlington, Dare And Go ran on grass in the 1994 Secretariat and finished second by a head to Vaudeville after racing wide. Dare And Go, whose previous start had come in June that year at Longchamp, was closing ground fast at the wire.

However, Delicatessa is also out of a Czaravich mare. Czaravich is known primarily for winning Jerome, Withers, Met Mile and Carter Handicap in New York, but he was also third in the grassy Man o' War (gr. IT) in 1979, and he was sired by Czar Alexander, who had won that event in 1968.

Despite her absence of turf form, Delicatessa was introduced to that surface with a three-eighths breeze on Wednesday, which she accomplished in :39 4/5 with the "dogs" up.

"We got a little practice into her," said trainer Charlie Livesay Thursday following Delicatessa's introductory grass move. "She seemed to handle it all right. She switched leads at the right time and all that.

"I waited as long as I could to find the right time to try her on the grass," said Livesay. "The competition may be a little tough (Saturday) but I think she can handle it. At least I hope so. In any rate, I love her and I think she's in good shape going into the race."

When winning her last trip to the post on Aug. 8, Delicatessa successfully accomplished the nine-furlong distance at first asking, coming from off the pace to be narrowly best at the wire. She has also finished in the money in her last eight starts.