Updated on 09/16/2011 8:54AM

Cellars Shiraz stays perfect

Email
Jean Raftery/Turfotos
Cellars Shiraz wins Saturday's Frances A. Genter, improving her grass record in Florida this year to 5 for 5.

MIAMI - Cellars Shiraz left little doubt about who is the queen of the south Florida turf after cruising to an easy 2 1/2-length victory over Madeira Mist in Saturday's $100,000 Frances A. Genter Stakes at Calder.

The Genter shared top billing on Saturday's program with the $100,000 Pete Axthelm Stakes, which was won by 31-1 longshot Stormy Roman.

Cellars Shiraz's victory was her seventh this year, all in stakes, and kept her record unblemished over both the Calder and Gulfstream Park grass courses, where she is a combined 5 for 5 in 2002. Despite her outstanding record locally, Cellars Shiraz returned a generous $7. She covered the 7 1/2 furlongs in 1:29.45 over a "good" course.

Bill Cesare, who trains Cellars Shiraz for the Bitterroot Investment's Inc., had some anxious moments early in the race, when his filly was put in tight quarters and forced to steady approaching the first turn. But jockey Eibar Coa was able to get Cellars Shiraz into the clear and in perfect striking position behind the pacesetting August Storm entering the backstretch. Cellars Shiraz readily overtook the leader at the top of the stretch and gradually extended her advantage to the wire.

"They tried to squeeze her early but other than that the race went pretty much as I expected," said Cesare. "She's a really nice horse. It will be interesting to see how she does against better, older horses next year. She may not win them all but she'll win a lot of them."

Cesare said he will point Cellars Shiraz to the $350,000 Sunshine Millions Turf at Gulfstream on Jan. 25.

In the Axthelm, Stormy Roman surprised just about everyone, perhaps even his own connections, when rallying to a neck victory over fellow longshot Swift Replica.

Stormy Roman, who finished fourth in an overnight stakes here last month, paid $65.80 after catching the pacesetting Swift Replica in the final strides of the 7 1/2-furlong grass race.

Miesque's Approval, the 5-2 co-choice along with Union Place, moved to within easy striking distance entering the stretch but hung in the final furlong and finished third. Union Place also lacked a rally after reaching close contention at the head of the stretch and finished sixth in a field of 12 3-year-old colts and geldings.

Tim Hills trains Stormy Roman for owner-breeder Thomas Croley.

"He was training well and we were hoping he'd run well but I was a little surprised he won," said Hills's assistant, Linda Shanty.

Hills was on vacation with family in New Hampshire and not present for the Axthelm.