12/09/2012 5:43PM

Gulfstream Park: Romacaca changes tactics to capture South Beach

Courtney Heeney
The 6-year-old mare Romacaca carries Francisco Torres to victory in the South Beach Stakes.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. -  Romacaca asserted her class and showed a bit of a new dimension in the process, rallying from off the pace to a well-earned neck victory over the fast-closing Chokurei in Sunday’s $100,000 South Beach at Gulfstream Park.

Romacaca, a two-time graded stakes winner, had registered the majority of her 15 previous victories either on or with the lead. But with a number of speed horses signed on for the 7 1/2- furlong South Beach, jockey Francisco Torres opted to rate Romacaca off the early leaders. The pair raced within easy striking distance of the front for six furlongs, engaged for command three wide upon settling into the stretch, and discouraged Hooh Why inside the sixteenth pole before withstanding a final surge from Chockurei. Hooh Why finished another three parts of a length farther back in third.

Romacaca ($8.40), a 6-year-old daughter of Running Stag, is trained by Danny Miller for owner Frank Calabrese, who claimed the mare for $25,000 in April  2009. Romacaca won the Grade 3 Modesty Handicap earlier this year at Arlington Park and the Grade 3 Matchmaker last summer at Monmouth.

“She’s such a professional,” said Miller. “You take care of her and keep her healthy and she’s such a nice mare. I think it’s easier on her to run her longer where she can relax more on the lead but I thought she did very well today. She’d been 60 days between races and then had gone down to the sale and I lost some training time with her or that horse might not have been coming to her like that at the end.”

Romacaca had been entered in the November Fasig Tipton Sale but did not meet her reserve. She will now be pointed for the Florida Sunshine Million Filly and Mare Turf, a race in which she finished second  behind Hooh Why earlier this year.