Romacaca Gamely Prevails in Grade III Modesty Handicap
Frank Calabrese's Romacaca prevailed after a prolonged stretch duel with Barbara Hunter's Snow Top Mountain to win the Grade III $200,000 Modesty Handicap by a neck Saturday at Arlington Park. The Danny Miller-trained daughter of Running Stag covered the mile and three-sixteenths over "good" turf in 1:56.67.
The two hooked up at the top of the stretch after overtaking pacesetter She's All In, who dictated the early going with fractions of 23.92 seconds and 49.62 seconds before dropping back on the second turn.
"There was (some concern about the distance) but she's more and more settled now," Miller said. "She's 6 years old and I really felt strongly she could do it. Right now we have to point for (the Grade I Beverly D. on Aug. 18.)"
"This (mare) is just awesome and she gets better and better every time I've been on her," said winning jockey Francisco Torres. "I was going in there 100 percent confident. When (Snow Top Mountain) came to me, all that did was make my (mare) run a little harder."
"We ran great," said Julien Leparoux, who rode the runner-up. "She got right up to (Romacaca) great and she really tried but the other horse took off again."
Upperline, the 2-1 post time favorite, was another 1 ¼ lengths back in third. The top three finishers in the Modesty will have their entry and start fees waived for the Grade I $750,000 Beverly D. should they start in that race next month.
"She ran good," said Upperline's rider James Graham. "She did everything right, just couldn't claw them back."
The Modesty was the fifth win in seven starts over the Arlington Park turf course for Romacaca, who earned $117,600 for the victory to boost her bankroll to $799,492 while improving her overall record to 14 wins from 29 starts.
Romacaca gave jockey Francisco Torres his second stakes winner of the afternoon after he had previously guided Harold Queen's Tiree to win the $66,400 Coach Jimi Lee Stakes earlier in the card.
Send off at 9-2 odds, Romacaca paid $11, $6 and $3.20. Snow Top Mountain returned $5.60 and $3.20. Upperline paid $3.