Frank Calabrese’s 6-year-old mare Romacaca is a veteran Graded turf
stakes performer with earnings of more than $850,000 and appears to be a
solid favorite in a full field of 13 fillies and mares drawn for
Sunday’s $100,000 South Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park to be run at 7 ½
furlongs on turf.
Regular jockey Francisco Torres rides the Florida-bred daughter of
Running Stag for trainer Danny Miller. Romacaca comes into the South
Beach in her first start since posting an impressive wire-to-wire score
last out in the Indian Maid Stakes at Hawthorne on Oct. 6. In July she
won the Modesty Handicap (G3). Since the Indian Maid she was consigned
and went through the sales ring at the Fasig-Tipton November sales on
Nov. 5, but didn’t meet her reserve and was returned to Miller’s care.
“She missed a couple of weeks of training for the sale, but that
won’t be a problem. When she breezed the other day, ‘Cisco’ said she had
never gone any better for him,” said Miller, who is guiding the mare’s
racing career for the second time.
Romacaca made the first four starts of her career at Gulfstream in
early 2009, breaking her maiden in her third start. She was claimed for
$25,000 by Calabrese when winning for the second time on April 17. She
won her next three starts for Miller at Arlington Park, including two
small stakes, and finished a solid second in the Pucker Up Stakes (G3)
in her first Graded stakes appearance.
Another veteran Graded stakes-winner in the field with experience
over the course is Mark Hoffman, Earl Trustud and Estate of Gail Gee’s
6-year-old Hooh Why, second in the South Beach late last year and winner
of the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf in late January. Jockey
Ron Allen, Jr. rides the Florida-bred daughter of Cloud Hopping with
earnings of more than $1.1 million.
Hooh Why has traveled far and wide throughout the east and mid-west
by van behind a truck with co-owner Mark Hoffman at the wheel. Hoffman
has also been the trainer of record on several occasions during a career
highlighted by a 24-to-1 upset victory in the as a 3-year-old in the
2009 Ashland Stakes (G1) at Keeneland. She has made her last two starts
at Calder, finishing a close-up fourth in the My Charmer Handicap (G3)
on Nov. 22 for trainer David Fawkes, but will run for trainer Nick
Gonzalez in the South Beach.
A lightly-raced, well-bred filly that has shown potential and could
be a threat in the field is Helen Alexander, Dorothy Matz and Helen
Groves’ Kentucky homebred 3-year-old filly Assateague, a daughter of
turf stakes winner Amelia, whose dam Aquilegia was a multiple Graded
stakes on turf. Aquilegia’s dam was Courtly Dee, the legendary former
Broodmare of the Year.
Trained by Michael Matz, Assateaugue broke her maiden in her third
start on turf at Keeneland in October last year and didn’t race again
until scoring in a turf allowance over the Saratoga course in July.
Third in the Pebbles Stakes at Belmont in early October, she makes her
first start since an even fourth-place try in the Raven Run Stakes (G2)
on Polytrack at Keeneland on Oct. 20.
“She’s a nice filly and has a lot of ability, but she’s a little
tricky to handle,” said Matz. “She just wants to be too aggressive in
the beginning. Hopefully, she’ll get that figured out.”
Completing the field for the South Beach are John Chandler’s Button
Girl, Francesca Turri’s Senza Rate, Charles Middleton III’s Affair
Dabbler, Gary Aiken’s Callmethesqueeze, AJ Suited Racing Stable’s Much
Rejoicing, Isabel and Peter Hoblyn’s Chokurei, Town and Country Farms’
Frontside, Augustin Stable’s Safe Crossing, Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s
Sisterhood and Martin Schwartz’ Whipsaw City.
Miller Racing LLC’s Golden Mystery is ‘also-eligible’ for the race, entered ‘main track only’ by trainer Marty Wolfson.