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Hatoof Winners Seek Graded Stakes Glory in Grade III Pucker Up Stakes

| Churchill Downs Communications | 09/11/2013 #
  • I'm Already Sexy winning a division of the Hatoof Stakes on Million Day (Four Footed Fotos)

  • I O Ireland winning the other Hatoof division. (Four Footed Fotos)

Hit The Board Stables’ I’m Already Sexy and Team Blocks I O Ireland, each a winner in a division of the Hatoof Stakes run on Arlington Million Day, return in search of their first graded stakes victory as they headline a field of eight 3-year-old fillies entered for Saturday’s Grade III $175,000 Pucker Up Stakes at a mile and an eighth on the turf.

A daughter of Ready’s Image, I’m Already Sexy captured the first division of the Hatoof, winning by 4¾ lengths in a quick 1:40.93 for the about 1 1/16-mile distance to earn her first black-type victory.  The Wayne Catalano trainee also won over this course when dead-heating with Flower Spell in an open allowance on July 5.  Florent Geroux, who was aboard for both of I’m Already Sexy’s 2013 scores, has the mount Saturday.

The Chris Block-trained I O Ireland took her division of the Hatoof by a neck while getting the distance in 1:41.69 to pick up her first victory of the season after going two-for-three as a 2-year-old in 2012.  The Giant’s Causeway filly has been racing in stakes company all year save for a fourth-place finish in an allowance race here on July 13.  Seth Martinez will be aboard I O Ireland for the first time in the Pucker Up.

While six of the eight entrants in the Pucker Up exit a division of the Hatoof, it may be a filly who comes from a different spot to provide their toughest competition.  Augustin Stable’s Remember Then brings an unblemished record into the race, which will be her first in stakes company.  A Jonathan Sheppard-trained daughter of Pulpit, Remember Then will also be making her turf debut Saturday after posting two victories over Keeneland’s Polytrack and one on dirt at Delaware Park.  Kent Desormeaux picks up the mount.

Others in the race are Haynes Stables’ Every Way (Emmanuel Esquivel) and G. Watts Humphrey Jr.’s Frivolous (Francisco Torres) – the second- and fourth-place finishers in the I O Ireland division of the Hatoof; plus Tim Keeley’s My Option (Eduardo Perez) and World Thoroughbreds Racing’s Miss Scout (Edgar Perez), the third- and fourth-place finishers in the I’m Already Sexy split of the Hatoof; and Jerry Jamgotchian’s recent Indiana Downs maiden winner Phonybooksnrecords (Rosemary Homeister Jr.)

In addition, My Option and Frivolous boast a one-two finish in the Grade III $150,000 Arlington Oaks over Polytrack in July.