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Full Fields for Pucker Up and Lassie

Churchill Downs Communications | 09/03/2008 #

An overflow field of 13 sophomore fillies passed the entry box Wednesday for Saturday’s Grade III $200,000 Pucker Up Stakes at a mile and an eighth on the turf.  The Pucker Up shares the Saturday spotlight with the Grade III $150,000 Arlington-Washington Lassie for 2-year-old fillies as part of the track’s “Ladies Day” program.

Frank C. Calabrese’s Dreaming of Liz, winner of the 2007 Lassie, seeks to become the first filly to win both the Lassie and the Pucker Up and comes into the race off a runner-up effort in the Grade III Arlington Oaks over Polytrack in her last start.  The daughter of El Prado has made only one start in her career, finishing sixth in the $200,000 American 1000 Guineas over this course in May.  Earlier this year, the Wayne Catalano trainee won the $50,000 Double Delta and the $50,000 Sweetest Chant Stakes on the main track.  Hall-of-Fame jockey Earlie Fires, Arlington’s all-time winningest jockey and second all-time amongst active riders, has the mount.

Pin Oak Stable’s Much Obliged returns to Arlington for the Pucker Up after having captured the inaugural American 1000 Guineas here in May.  Since taking that one-mile turf event, the Malcom Pierce-trained daughter of Kingmambo finished second beaten only a neck in the Grade III Boiling Springs Stakes at Monmouth Park in June and eighth in the Grade II Lake Placid Stakes at Saratoga last month.  Chris Emigh, who was aboard Much Obliged for her previous Arlington score, has the return call Saturday.

Invading from California for the Pucker Up is Auerbach, Loverso, McCauley, Abrams, Wilson et al.’s Bel Air Sizzle, runner-up in the Grade I Del Mar Oaks last time out.  In that mile and an eighth turf test at the seaside oval, the daughter of Unusual Heat rallied five-wide into the stretch to get up for the place spot, two lengths behind Magical Fantasy.  A four-time winner this season, the Barry Abrams pupil also ran second in the Grade II Honeymoon Handicap at Hollywood Park.  Rafael Bejarano, leading jockey at Del Mar this summer, has been named to ride.

Others entered for Saturday’s co-feature include Faisal Salmon’s Jazz Jam (Robby Albarado), who invades from England where the daughter of Pivotal is one for five this season; Wertheimer and Frere’s Lucky Copy (Garrett Gomez) and Sam Pollock’s Return to Paradise (Jesse Campbell) winners of the split divisions of the $50,000 Hatoof Stakes here on Arlington Million Day, Aug. 9; Illinois-bred stakes victress Virginia Tarra Trust’s Apple Martini (Eddie Perez), third in the Arlington Oaks last out; and $50,000 Audubon Oaks heroine Closeout (Jamie Theriot).

Completing the field for the Pucker Up are: G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s Clear Pond (E. T. Baird), an allowance winner here July 25; 100% Racing Stable’s Gone Theatrical (Junior Alvarado), winner of an allowance race here July 27; Zayat Stables’ Mushka (Rene Douglas), fourth in the Grade I Alabama at Saratoga last out and winner of the Grade II Demoiselle Stakes at Aqueduct as a 2-year-old; Robert Gorham & Mast Thoroughbreds’ Nijinsky Ballet (Jose Ferrer), winless in six starts this year; and Charles Patton & Edward Sukley’s Tight Precision (Russell Baze), runner-up in a division of the Hatoof in her last trip to the post.

The Arlington-Washington Lassie, at a mile on Polytrack, also attracted an overflow field of 13 including Jerry Hollendorfer, George Todaro and Tom Clark’s Broadway Hennessey.  The daughter of Hennessey has won two of her three starts including the $50,000 Wine Country Juvenile at Santa Rosa on July 27.  Trained by Hollendorfer, she will be ridden by North America’s all-time winningest rider Russell Baze, who has more than 10,000 career victories to date.

Tom Walters’ Pretty Prolific is another who bears watching.  The James Baker-trained daughter of Lion Heart finished third in the Grade II Adirondack Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 13.  Rafael Bejarano gets the mount.

Others named to the Lassie’s starting field are: William Stiritz’s Afleet Deceit (Chris Emigh); William Pacella, George Bonomo & Fred Barbara’s C. S. Silk (Robby Albarado); Savoy Stables’ Mamma Lina (Eddie Perez); George Arnold II’s Never Lie (James Graham); Jake J. Pletcher’s Phola (Rene Douglas); and Derrick Smith, Michael Tabor & Mrs. John Magnier’s Pride (Garrett Gomez).

Also, G M Squared LLC’s Quite the Lady (Jesse Campbell); Richard Ravin & Larry Rivelli’s Ravin Maniac (Tim Thornton); Versatile Thoroughbreds, Nemesis Racing Stable & Russell Lawson’s Reine des Course (Inez Karlsson); Richard Rudolph & Michael Vranich’s Timeless Miss (Earlie Fires); and Marc C. Ferrell’s Wind Caper (Victor Lebron).