07/14/2012 4:45PM

Arlington Park: Romacaca relaxes early, fights late to win Modesty Handicap

Four Footed Fotos
Romacaca (right) holds off Snow Top Mountain to win the Grade 3 Modesty Handicap.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – Romacaca, in her previous incarnation, could never have won a race like the Grade 3 Modesty Handicap over 1 3/16 miles. Romacaca had talent, but she used it on the front end, firing out to the lead, running fast, and hoping to hold on. Such tactics were effective at distances up to a mile and a sixteenth or so, but anything farther would be asking too much.

But Romacaca is 6 now, and she’s a changed horse.

“She’s a mare now,” said trainer Danny Miller, who got Romacaca back in his barn about June 1, and had trained her for owner Frank Calabrese back in 2009 and 2010. “She’s learned to settle.”

Settle Romacaca did in the $200,000 Modesty, alternating with She’s All In through fractions of 23.92 seconds for the first quarter-mile, 49.62 for the opening half, and 1:14.27. Snow Top Mountain and Julien Leparoux came with an ambitious run into the stretch, drawing even with Romacaca and putting a head in front at the stretch call, but Romacaca stayed on gamely, coming back to win the Modesty by a neck under Cisco Torres.

“I thought I was going by,” said Leparoux. “We got to the other horse and she wouldn’t let us go past.”

Romacaca was claimed for $25,000 in 2009 and has been a windfall for Calabrese, winning 12 races for him. She had an excellent 2011, winning five races in a row, four of them stakes, but was had won only once in four tries this year before coming back into Miller’s barn.

“This was all about Danny’s training,” said Torres, the meet’s leading rider. 

Romacaca, who paid $11 to win, was timed in 1:56.67 on a turf course rated good. Snow Top Mountain finished 1 1/4  lengths clear of Upperline, who was followed by Smart Sting, Bizzy Caroline, She’s All In, and Pathway.

*Presque Isle Downs shipper Tiree, another Torres mount, won the $65,000 Coach Jimi Lee Stakes by a nose over Arcade earlier on the card. Tiree and Arcade fought for the lead for much of the race, with Tiree scoring a narrow decision. Trained by Gerald Bennett, Tiree, a son of Smoke Glacken, has won four straight races. He paid $20.60 to win and was timed in 1:24.69 for seven furlongs on Polytrack.