Pucker Up Stakes (G3)
Contact: David Zenner
GRADE III PUCKER UP STAKES DRAWS DOZEN DISTAFFERS
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (Sept. 12, 2012) – A full field of 12 grass favoring sophomore fillies, topped by Landaluce Educe Stables’ Volcat and Team Valor International & Robert LaPenta’s Angegreen, will line up for Saturday’s Grade III $175,000 Pucker Up Stakes at a mile and an eighth on the turf.
Slated as the eighth of 11 races on Saturday, the Pucker Up is the final graded stakes race of the Arlington Park season and will be part of a stakes tripleheader that also includes a pair of $65,000-added races for state-breds – the Lady Lionel Handicap for fillies and mares at a mile on the turf and the Tex’s Zing Handicap for the boys at a mile and a sixteenth on the lawn.
Volcat carries a two-race win skein into the Pucker Up including a score in the Grade III Virginia Oaks at Colonial Downs in her last start July 21. Since the daughter of After Market was shifted to the turf, she has not finished worse than third in three starts over the surface. The Ken McPeek trainee will be ridden Saturday by Robby Albarado.
Angegreen, an Italian-bred daughter of Ekraar, makes her first start in this country after being purchased by her current connections earlier this year and sent to trainer Graham Motion. The chestnut filly was quite accomplished in her native country winning three of five starts while finishing second in her final start overseas – the Group II Italian Oaks in May. Mike Smith will be in the saddle Saturday.
Another filly likely to make an impact in the Pucker Up is the Roger Attfield-trained Miss Cato. The British-bred Notnowcato filly has only made two starts in the U.S. since being imported from England, finishing fourth in the Grade I American Oaks at Hollywood Park and second beaten a neck in an allowance race at Del Mar last month. Arlington Park’s leading rider Francisco Torres picks up the mount.
Spendthrift Farm’s graded stakes-placed filly Treasured Up, third in the Grade III Regret at Churchill Downs, has been facing stakes company since beating an allowance field at Keeneland in April. Tim Thornton rides the Al Stall Jr.-trained daughter of Medaglia d’Oro.
Joining the top quartet in the race are Roger McDaniel’s Julia’s Star and Team Block’s Leading Astray, each of whom won a division of the $65,000 Hatoof Stakes here on Arlington Million Day August 18.
Julia’s Star, a Joan Scott-trained daughter of El Prado, has won two of her last three starts while finishing fourth to Volcat in the Virginia Oaks between those victories. Sebastian Madrid has been named to ride.
Illinois-bred Leading Astray rallied to win the second division of the Hatoof under Eduardo Perez, who will ride the Chris Block trainee again Saturday. The daughter of Belong to Me has four wins from five starts and a second-place finish, all on the turf.
Others in the race include: John Wade, Darrell & Lendy Brown and Ben McElroy’s Freedom Reigns (James Graham), second in the Leading Astray division of the Hatoof; Lawana and Robert Low’s Zapper Belle (Rosemary Homeister Jr.), third in the Julia’s Star division of the Hatoof; Robert Zoellner’s Soonerette (Tanner Riggs), winner of the $75,000 Northbound Pride Oaks at Canterbury Park; and G. Watts Humphrey Jr. and St. George Farm Racing’s recent allowance winner Rare Event (Jon Court).
Completing the field for the Pucker Up are Chasing Tails Stables’ Ann of the Dance (Miguel Mena) and Lally Stable’s Dame Marie (Florent Geroux).
Earlier in the day, the 1-2-3 finishers in the Aug. 11 filly and mare division of the $100,000 Illinois Owners Stakes - Timothy Keely’s Peyote Patty; Barr Three, Cherrywood Racing and Michael Bojarski’s Katie the Lady; and Two Bucks to Show’s Cumulonimble – face off in the Lady Lionel Handicap which goes as the day’s opener.
The Tex’s Zing, carded as the sixth race, features Captain Jack Racing Stable’s Mr. Mischief, winner of the $125,000 Black Tie Affair in June and second in the open division of the $100,000 Illinois Owners Stakes last month; and Robert & Kelly Dobbs and Carson Spring Farm’s Tazz, twice a winner in open company this year.
Arlington Park – the Chicago area’s premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. – will run a 90-day meet in 2012 from Friday, May 4 through Sunday, Sept. 30. Arlington Park, whose parent company is Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN), also operates 12 off-track, simulcast-wagering facilities – Trackside Arlington Park (Arlington Heights), Trackside Chicago, Trackside Quad City Downs (East Moline), Trackside Waukegan, Tavern on North featuring Trackside Villa Park, Shooters Bar & Grill at Don Carter Lanes featuring Trackside Rockford, Fat Sam’s Bar & Grill featuring Trackside OTB in Lockport, Stanley’s Ale House featuring Trackside OTB in South Elgin, Nicolino’s featuring Trackside OTB in McHenry, TADS Sports Bar & Grill featuring Trackside OTB in South Beloit, Salerno-Pincente Ristorante featuring Trackside OTB in Hodgkins and Sam’s Triple Crown featuring Trackside Orland Hills. Information on Arlington Park can be found online at www.arlingtonpark.com.