11/18/2010 2:24PM

Cherokee Queen, Romacaca clash in allowance feature on turf


MIAMI – There are no stakes races on Saturday’s program at Calder but there are certainly plenty of stakes-quality horses entered in the afternoon’s eighth event to be decided under money allowance conditions at 7 1/2 furlongs on the turf.

Topping the list are Cherokee Queen and Romacaca, who last met on March 20 at Gulfstream Park when second and fourth behind Scolara in a high-priced optional claiming race. Both Cherokee Queen and Romacaca changed barns following that encounter. Cherokee Queen wound up with trainer Marty Wolfson after being purchased privately by Farnsworth Stables. Romacaca was transferred by his owner Frank Calabrese from Darren Miller to Nick Canani last spring but currently has Luis Ramirez as her trainer of record.

Cherokee Queen has captured 2 of 5 starts, both stakes, and also finished fourth, less than two lengths behind Proviso, in the Grade 1 Just a Game after moving to Wolfson’s shed at Calder.

Romacaca has raced three times since squaring off against Cherokee Queen, winning twice, including a five-length victory in the Firecracker at Mountaineer. She has not started since finishing fourth after setting the pace into the stretch in the Grade 1 Beverly D. at Arlington Park.

Both fillies have been idle since late August and have a limited work tab since their most recent appearance. If Cherokee Queen has any advantage over Romacaca when they square off again Saturday it’s the fact she has already won over the local course. That victory came in the Hollywood Wildcat Handicap here on May 8.

Both horses will also have new riders for the rematch with Luis Saez listed on Cherokee Queen and Daniel Centeno on Romacaca.

There is plenty of speed signed on for Saturday’s race. Aside from Romacaca, the lineup includes stretch-out sprinters Yes It’s Valid, Golden Mystery, Sunday Geisha, and Trippi’s Sailor. The remainder of the lineup consists of Dancing Rage, Entertaining, North Rodeo, Maddie’s Odyssey, and Cherokee Queen’s stablemate Diva d’Or, who is entered for the main track only.

Nicoletti, Pacheco will co-host Gulfstream TV show

Long-time south Florida racing personality Ron Nicoletti will return to Gulfstream Park as television host and analyst for the 2011 meeting during which he will be joined by Jessica Pacheco, the racing analyst and paddock host at Arlington Park.

Nicoletti worked 19 years as Gulfstream’s analyst and program handicapper before taking last season off to pursue acting projects that included several episodes of USA Network’s Burn Notice and a part in a soon-to-be released movie called The Killing of a Japanese Bookie.

Nicoletti will be joined on the set each day by Pacheco, who along with her duties at Arlington served in a similar capacity for four years at Fair Grounds and also worked for NBC Sports on this year’s coverage of the Wood Memorial and at ESPN during the 2008 Breeders’ Cup.

In addition to handicapping the live races, Nicoletti and Pacheco will host “Gulfstream Today” before each card along with a Saturday seminar that will include a variety of guests.