03/20/2009 11:00PM

Hot Cha Cha cruises in Bourbonette


FLORENCE, Ky. - Phil Sims has been a trainer on the Kentucky circuit for most of his adult life. Saturday marked one of the greatest days of his career after Hot Cha Cha rallied for a six-length victory the $150,000 Bourbonette Oaks at Turfway Park.

"That's my richest win," said Sims, 47. "We liked the way the race set up with all the speed. She sure ran big for us."

Hot Cha Cha, ridden by Orlando Mojica, circled the field after being eighth of 10 3-year-old fillies in the early going of the one-mile Bourbonette. Turning for home, she had only to catch the race-long front-runners, Fitz Just Right and Instrumentalist, and she did so with ease, coasting past to finish in 1:37.22. Fitz Just Right saved second by a head over Instrumentalist, with late-flying Walloon another nose back in fourth.

Hot Cha Cha, owned by Nelson McMakin, has never raced on anything but the Polytrack surface at Turfway, having won 2 of 4 prior starts here. A homebred by Cactus Ridge, she returned $20 to win as fifth choice.

Sims, based at Keeneland, said Hot Cha Cha would not run back in either the April 4 Ashland Stakes at Keeneland nor the May 1 Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs.

The Bourbonette was one of four stakes on the Lane's End Stakes undercard.

Rushaway: Cliffy's Future rallies

Two years ago, Silverton Hill Farm and trainer Darrin Miller sent out Dominican to back-to-back wins in the Rushaway Stakes and Blue Grass Stakes. That parlay is alive again this year after Cliffy's Future ($16.40), with Jesus Castanon aboard, stormed to a 2 1/2-length triumph in the $100,000 Rushaway for 3-year-olds.

Cliffy's Future raced well back in a field of eight before launching his decisive run on the far turn of the 1 1/16-mile Rushaway. Ziegfeld also rallied from far behind to finish second, a head before Toccet Rocket. No Inflation, the 2-1 favorite, made a bold move in the upper stretch before fading to fifth.

Cliffy's Future, by The Cliff's Edge, was coming off a poor effort in the Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs. Miller said the colt would run back in the April 11 Blue Grass or April 18 Coolmore Lexington at Keeneland.

Dominican easily won the Rushaway before subsequently capturing the Blue Grass in a four-horse photo that included eventual Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense. Dominican was 11th in the Derby.

* Turfiste ($15.40), ridden by Julien Leparoux, turned back all comers despite setting swift fractions in capturing the $50,000 Hansel Stakes by a length over favored King Puma.

Turfiste, owned by the Walts David Stable and trained by Bob Holthus, finished six furlongs in 1:10.10 after going in 21.55 seconds and 44.57. The 3-year-old colt by Military was coming off a narrow triumph in the Black Gold Stakes on the Fair Grounds turf.

* Just for Keeps ($6.60) led from the start under Leparoux when capturing the $50,000 Queen Stakes by three-quarters of a length over late-running Proud Heiress.

Owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trained by Mike Maker, Just for Keeps won for the seventh time in 18 starts. She could run next in the $100,000 Giant's Causeway on the Keeneland turf April 18, Maker said.

* Victor Lebron, the leading jockey at the winter-spring meet, was transported to nearby St. Luke's Hospital with a sprained right ankle after being thrown from his mount, Belle's Beamer, at the start of the third race. He missed three stakes mounts, including Turfiste in the Hansel and Bruce N Autumn in the Lane's End.