Owner/breeders Daniel and Ada Rice with their 1957 champion older filly Pucker Up. Bill Shoemaker is in the saddle.

Owner/breeders Daniel and Ada Rice with their 1957 champion older filly Pucker Up. Bill Shoemaker is in the saddle.

Courtesy Friends of Danada

Danada Fall Festival to Honor Champion Pucker Up

Event recognizes the filly's 1957 championship year

The annual Danada Fall Festival in Wheaton, Ill., Oct. 8, will be a tribute to Pucker Up, champion older filly of 1957.

Everyone is invited to stop by the Danada House, former home of Thoroughbred breeders Daniel and Ada Rice, for the Friends of Danada's 60th anniversary celebration honoring the racing mare. On display will be racing trophies, the championship medallion, and over 20 racing photos including winning moments captured with notable jockeys Bill Shoemaker, Eddie Arcaro, and Bill Hartack.

Original 1957 Daily Racing Form clippings saved by Ada Rice tell the story of this mare's 32 race career, with 16 wins, 8 shows and 2 places in her four-year career. Pucker Up (Olympia—Lou Lea), was a well-balanced, 15.3 bay filly, with graded wins in the Washington Park Handicap, Arlington Matron, Beldame, Misty Isle and Jersey Belle. Her bloodlines trace back to racing's famous love child, Signorinetta (Chaleureux-Signorina), winner of the 1908 Epsom Derby and Epsom Oaks. As a broodmare Pucker Up produced seven foals, and the filly, Plucky Pan, out of Bold Ruler, was her best runner. 

Hall of Fame trainer James P. Conway said of his charge Pucker Up, "She's a fine, solid mare, usually pretty high in flesh. As a 4-year-old in 1957, Pucker Up was first or second in 10 of 13 starts and was named champion older mare for her efforts. It was a well-deserved title as in the Washington Park Handicap she beat the boys, including the outstanding Swoon's Son."

Other racing memorabilia on display will be the 1965 Kentucky Derby trophy won by Lucky Debonair, original racing silks for the Ada L. Rice Stable and archives from 1943-1975 for the Danada Farm Thoroughbreds. Visitors can tour the barn that once stabled Kentucky Derby winner Lucky Debonair in stall 8, and learn about horse care, grooming, and tack. 

The main arena events will showcase riding styles throughout the day and feature a parade of breeds and drill teams. Danada Fall Festival remains one of the only free equestrian shows of its kind in the Chicago area. Visitors can also meet Danada's own Nick the Painting Horse, take horse-drawn hayrides through the autumn woods and view the half-mile training track with a 70-year-old starting gate. Children's activities include making hobby horses and taking pony rides. Danada House also hosts the Nature Art and Photo Show.

The Forest Preserve District of DuPage County's largest event, the Danada Fall Festival, draws more than 12,000 visitors each year and takes place rain or shine from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Danada Equestrian Center at 3S507 Naperville Road in Wheaton. Admission and parking are free. Questions? Contact Eileen White, thoroughbred historian, at derby65@att.net.