09/08/2008 11:00PM

Big win after 33 years


MIAMI - For all the outstanding performances on Saturday's Juvenile Showcase program, the feel-good story of the afternoon was undoubtedly Aroma de Mujer's upset victory over 3-5 favorite La Chica Sensual in the Susan's Girl Stakes.

Not only was Aroma de Mujer a maiden coming into the middle leg of the filly division of the Florida Stallion Stakes series, she also gave her 72-year-old trainer, Walter Rosas-Canessa, the first Stallion series victory of his 33-year training career.

An aspiring jockey as a teenager in his native Peru, Rosas-Canessa has worked around horses for the last 60 years. He came to the United States just before the opening of Calder in 1971 and has remained here ever since.

Rosas-Canessa took out his trainer's license in 1978 and has maintained a small, primarily claiming stable for the last three decades. The closest he came to winning a Stallion series event prior to Saturday was with Runaway Rizzi, who finished third in the 2003 My Dear Girl.

"This was certainly the highlight of my training career," said Rosas-Canessa, who trains Aroma de Mujer for owners Angel and Pedro Maestre. "I feel like I'm in heaven right now, I'm so happy. I've always had mostly claiming horses, never the kind who could compete in these types of races, but lately I've gotten some new owners who have provided me with better and better stock."

Aroma de Mujer had shown potential right from the outset of her career, finishing second behind the now stakes-placed After the Applause in her career debut. The daughter of Trippi also finished a distant third behind La Chica Sensual after setting the early pace from the deeper going along the rail in the Desert Vixen Stakes.

Rosas-Canessa had been training Aroma de Mujer in blinkers prior to the Susan's Girl but opted not to use them on race day. He also put a tongue tie on her for the first time Saturday.

"She trained well in blinkers, but acted stupid with them at the gate, so I decided not to race her in them," Rosas-Canessa said. "I also noticed she'd been playing a lot with her tongue, so I tried the tongue tie and that seemed to help her relax."

Aroma de Mujer set the early pace, as expected, in the seven-furlong Susan's Girl, but her chances of winning seemed bleak after she was passed by both La Chica Sensual and Trippi's Greatness inside the eighth pole. But Aroma de Mujer and jockey Manuel Aguilar never gave up, fighting back along the rail to overtake the favorite in the final yards.

"At the eighth pole, I thought we were beaten when the favorite came up to us," Aguilar admitted. "But I kept fighting, even if it meant for only second place, and she really started digging in and inching back at that horse as we got closer to the wire."

Rosas-Canessa said he'll now point Aroma de Mujer for the $400,000 My Dear Girl at 1 1/16 miles on Oct. 18.

"She's a classy filly, and I really think the extra distance will help her," Rosas-Canessa said. "I don't think she'll run again until then. I can train her up to the race."

Big Drama, This Ones for Phil to clash

Big Drama was certainly the star of the show on Juvenile Showcase Day, with his easy 3 1/2-length triumph in the Affirmed Stakes. He'll attempt to complete a sweep of the open division of the Stallion series when he returns for the 1 1/16-mile In Reality Stakes on Oct. 18, where he will face a formidable opponent in This Ones for Phil, the impressive winner of the one-mile Seacliff Stakes earlier Saturday. This Ones for Phil is a half-brother to Tap Dancer, runner-up behind the odds-on Sir Oscar in the 2003 In Reality.

Trainer David Fawkes said he'll train Big Drama straight into the In Reality, while his colleague Kathleen O'Connell left the door open that This Ones for Phil might wheel back in the one mile and 70-yard Foolish Pleasure Stakes on Sept. 27. The winner of the Foolish Pleasure has captured the In Reality each of the past three years.

Yesbyjimminy gets challenge

At 10 cents on the dollar, Yesbyjimminy was supposed to make short work of his six rivals in Sunday's $55,000 Whippleton Stakes. Instead, he had all he could handle before finally posting a hard-fought neck decision over a dead-game Machismo in the overnight sprint stakes.

Machismo may have even sprung the upset with a little better luck leaving the starting gate. Instead, the speedster broke a step slowly and had to fight his way to the lead after an opening quarter-mile in a lively 21.78 seconds. Machismo shook off the early challenge from Winnies Tigger Too and was clear around the turn and into the stretch. He dug in resolutely when engaged by Yesbyjimminy inside the eighth pole before gradually giving way in the final strides.

The victory was the fourth in a row for Yesbyjimminy, a son of Yes It's True who is trained by Eddie Plesa Jr. for the Trilogy Stable.

* The fact leading rider Paco Lopez no longer has his five-pound apprentice allowance does not appear to have diminished his popularity with local horsemen. Lopez was named in 6 of the 8 races on Thursday's card, the first day he'll ride as a journeyman. Lopez, currently the winningest apprentice in the nation, lost his bug Tuesday.