Pucker Up Stakes Preview

Wander around Chicago and its suburbs long enough and you'll find something with the namesake of Dan and Ada Rice. The combination of their first names is sometimes used as well, Danada.  The Rices donated to a number of philanthropic causes, and their house in Wheaton remains in operation.


Danada House in Wheaton.

The Rices were also owners of race horses. (This is a racing blog, after all...) They campaigned 1965 Kentucky Derby winner Lucky Debonair and the 1957 Champion Three-Year-Old Filly, Pucker Up. Pucker Up won the Arlington Matron (against elders), Washington Park (against males), and Beldame (also against elders) during her sophomore campaign.

The Pucker Up Stakes headlines the Saturday card at Arlington. In recent years, the race has evolved into a nice steppingstone for the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (QEII Cup) during Keeneland's Fall meet.  For three-year-old fillies at nine furlongs on the weeds, it carries  Grade Three stature and a pot of $175,000.

Arlington Park -- Race 10 -- G3 Pucker Up Stakes -- 1 1/8 miles on turf -- post time 5:30 pm CT

At publish time morning line odds were not available. (Update, Sept. 12: Morning line odds were added.

At publish time, the rail is set to Lane 4.

In the winners' tent on Arlington Million Day, trainer Chris Block said to disregard MY OPTION's race in the first division of the Hatoof, this race's feeder.  She finished four wide on the course (with the rail set wider than today's Lane 4/49 feet out) and still cashed a third check in a supposed bad effort.  The pace scenario, going nine furlongs, should be a bit slower in this event with the only legitimate speed coming from Hatoof Division 1 winner I'M ALREADY SEXY and possibly Arlington Oaks runnerup FRIVOLOUS.  I think with a slower pace MY OPTION can get a better inside-outside trip and get first jump on the closers.  The leader she could be chasing down is I'M ALREADY SEXY, who beat MY OPTION in the first division of the Hatoof by four-plus lengths.   I'M ALREADY SEXY outworked MY OPTION recently at Arlington, has trainer Wayne Catalano saddling her (who is well on his way to another training title), and the Catalano/Geroux team took last week's Arlington-Washington Futurity.  So why the pick against?  Not a huge fan of a Ready's Image daughter going nine panels, and maybe Torres on FRIVOLOUS makes her work for it.  Jonathan Sheppard makes a rare Arlington appearance on REMEMBER THEN, which attracts K. Desormeaux to ride.  Beat elders last time in a second-level allowance at Delaware coming off a freshening and two back won on Keeneland polytrack.  She's never been on turf before, but the breeding is fine for it.  Note she's cross entered to a $50K stakes at Delaware Park on September 12.  (An alternative pick will be offered if she scratches.)

#3 MY OPTION (9/2)



Longshot: She won't be 22-1 this time around, but #7 I O IRELAND (4/1) could offer some toteboard zest in the Pucker Up.  Like the move to use Seth Martinez on the "B" Block horse that won the second division of the Pucker Up closing off quick splits.  Cross out her Gulfstream races when she went badly off form, and you're left with a filly that's three of six lifetime, undefeated on the turf.  It's the "other" Block, and this one also stands a better chance if I'M ALREADY SEXY and FRIVOLOUS duel on the front end.  Not often the odds here are this low.

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  • Neat aricle. I never realized Danada was a mash up of Dan and Ada Rice's name. Their generosity not only graces many of Chicago's wonderful cultural and educational treasures, but I also was a beneficiary of a scholarship of theirs in New Jersey. They also have a great therapeutic riding school (this is a horse blog!) to their credit.
    I think this race sets up as a "paddock" pick for betting.

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