Sistas Stroll eats up the soft turf in the Pucker Up

September 14, 2014 06:31am
Sistas Stroll Pucker Up 615 X 400
Photo: Four Footed Fotos


In the grand tradition of top notch Pucker Up winners of the past, Sistas Stroll exploded on the soft turf of the Arlington International stretch to score an emphatic 1 ½-length victory in the Grade 3 feature.

Content to stalk the moderate early fractions of the Graham Motion shipper, Final Redemption, Sistas Stroll and rider Drayden Van Dyke waited patiently through fractions of :24.29, :50.36, and 1:16.38, as the field of nine made their way down the Arlington backstretch. Moving up on the far turn, the lightly raced dark bay filly gained perfect striking position as the fillies turned for home. From there, it just became a matter if the Tom Proctor trained filly could reel in the early leader, and that suspense was short lived, as Sista Stroll powered right on by, and cruised home an easy winner.

For the young winning rider, the Pucker Up score represented Van Dyke’s initial graded stakes score.

“It worked out really well for me,” said Van Dyke. “I saved ground the whole way. I just had one horse in front of me. She kind of came down on the rail and I just went by her. She really finished well. (This win) is a very big deal for me.  It’s my first graded (stakes) win. Of course, Tom (Proctor) means everything for me. He’s given (me) so many great opportunities. I just want to thank him.”

In recent editions of the Pucker Up, first contested in 1961, the rollcall of winners have included excellent turf fillies like Ticker Tape, Vacare, Marketing Mix, and I'm Already Sexy. Sistas Stroll has the potential to be as good as any of them. After a third place finish in her career debut on the dirt at Tampa Bay Downs, the Five Fillies Stable owned miss has rattled off three consecutive victories on the lawn at Churchill Downs, Del Mar, and today in Suburban Chicago.

Hall of Fame rider Mike Smith made the trip out to Chicago to take the mount on V V Goodnight who rallied on well from the inside to easily gain second while never threatening the winner. The runner-up also hails from the Tom Proctor stable, giving the trainer known for his turf runners, a 1-2 finish. Race favorite Final Redemption was passed late by Maria Maria for third.

Final time for the nine furlongs over the rain softened turf course was 1:55.13. As the sixth choice, Sistas Stroll returned $17.20, $7.80, and $5.80 to her happy backers.

Proctor was tight lipped about the next start for Sistas Stroll, but after today’s impressive victory, it would seem to be a good bet that the daughter of Stroll earned a trip down to Keeneland for next month’s Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.



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Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Taken to the races at a very young age, he has been lucky enough to see all the greats in person from Secretariat, Forego, and Ruffian through Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, American Pharoah and Justify. Before coming to the Nation, Brian displayed his love for the sport through the development of his horse racing website, which quickly became one of the most popular blogs in the game. His new racing partnership venture, Derby Day Racing, invites more fans to experience the thrill of racehorse ownership.

The Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, Brian authored a daily column as Zipse at the Track, created the popular racing show, HorseCenter and added his editorial flare to the overall content of the website. Now a Senior Writer for HRN, Brian continues to contribute his thoughts on racing, as well as hosting HorseCenter. A big supporter of thoroughbred aftercare, he serves as the President of The Exceller Fund.

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A horse owner and graduate of DePaul University, Brian lives just outside of Louisville with his wife Candice and daughter Kendra.

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