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Romacaca Puts Win Streak on Line in Pucker Up
Frank Calabrese's Romacaca seeks her sixth straight score when she heads a full field of 12 sophomore distaffers entered for Monday's Grade III $200,000 Pucker Up Stakes. The nine-furlong grass test is part of Arlington's annual Labor Day Turf Showcase with nine of the day's 10 races carded for the lawn.
A daughter of Running Stag, Romacaca lost the first two starts of her career on dirt but has been undefeated since switching surfaces. Claimed by her current connections for $25,000 after her second victory, the Danny Miller-trained filly captured three more turf races - an optional claiming allowance race in June, the $53,300 Diamond Ring Stakes on Million Preview Day July 11 and the $55,800 Hatoof Stakes on Arlington Million Day Aug. 8. E. T. Baird, who has been aboard the filly since she was claimed, gets a return call Saturday.
Included among those slated to face the 3-1 morning line favorite are graded stakes winners Hot Cha Cha, Peach Brew and C. S. Silk, all three who earned their graded scores over synthetic surfaces.
Nelson McMakin's Hot Cha Cha captured the Grade III Bourbonette Oaks at Turfway Park in March and then finished second in her turf debut - the Grade III Appalachian. In July, she ran third, beaten only a half-length, in the Grade III Regret at Churchill Downs. Last out, she ran third, again beaten only a half, in the Grade III Arlington Oaks over Polytrack. James Graham will be aboard the Philip Sims-trained daughter of Cactus Ridge.
Robert Zoellner's Peach Brew picked up her biggest score to date in her most recent start when she rallied to get up for the victory in the Arlington Oaks on July 18. The daughter of Milwaukee Brew has made only two starts on turf with her best finish being a second in the $51,000 Cimarron Stakes at Remington Park last fall. Quincy Hamilton returns from Oklahoma to pilot the Donnie K. Von Hemel charge.
Pacella, Bonomo & Barbara's C. S. Silk, winner of the Grade III Arlington-Washington Lassie here last year, looks to keep her perfect turf record intact here. In her lone lawn start, the daughter of Medaglia d'Oro won a second-level allowance race at Churchill Downs in June. In her last start, the Dale Romans trainee set the pace before fading to fifth in the Arlington Oaks.
Another who figures prominently is California invader Hameildaeme, owned by Newmarket Thoroughbred Racing LLC, comes in off a fourth-place run in the Grade I Del Mar Oaks in her most recent trip to post. Previously, the daughter of Storming Home, ran third in the Grade II San Clemente Handicap, also at Del Mar. Danny Sorenson gets the call aboard the James Lloyd pupil.
Completing the field for the Pucker Up (with rider listed) is: Carl Pollard's Kiss Mine (Tony Farina); William Stiritz's Napoleon Retreat (Chris Emigh); William Bradley's Embers Glowing (Jon Court); Glen Hill Farm's Prytania (Junior Alvarado); Joseph O'Brien's Bill's Presence (Florent Geroux); Lothenbach Stables Inc.'s Single Solution (Eduardo Perez); and Edward Seltzer's Hustle (Inez Karlsson).