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.
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-place 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 & 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. & 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.