05/27/2010 11:00PM

Romacaca seeks to extend Canani's hot hand


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. -- If it seems like trainer Nick Canani never loses at Arlington, well, that's because trainer Nick Canani only rarely loses at Arlington.

After notching still another victory here on Thursday, Canani, training exclusively or owner Frank Calabrese, had won with 13 of 23 starters so far this meet, a mere 56 percent strike rate. Four more Canani-trained runners have finished third, giving the trainer a 73 percent in-the-money rate.

Those gaudy stats might be enhanced by the filly Romacaca, one of six entrants in race 6 here Sunday. Romacaca is part of a one-mile turf race open to $62,500 claimers and allowance horses of various stripes. Co-featured on the program is race 4, which has similar allowance conditions and the same claiming price as race 6, but is carded for one mile on Polytrack.

Romacaca makes her first start for Canani, whom Calabrese hired a little more than one year ago. Romacaca came into Calabrese's hands via a $25,000 claim in April 2009, but was handled until recently by trainer Danny Miller, who no longer works for Calabrese. Romacaca, a 4-year-old Running Stag filly, had an excellent 2009 Arlington meet, winning three straight races -- the last two overnight stakes -- by more than 12 lengths combined. In her final 2009 Arlington start, Romacaca finished second to Hot Cha Cha in the Grade 3 Pucker Up Stakes.

Romacaca's winter at Gulfstream was somewhat less successful than her summer at Arlington, but she ran creditably in three starts there, and has posted encouraging works for her first start since March 20. Romacaca races in blinkers for the first time in six starts, and her outside draw should give new rider Junior Alvarado plenty of latitude should other pace players, such as Cure for Sale and Afleet Deceit, get intent on making the early lead.

Race 4 also has just six horses, and could boil down to a match-up between Peyote Patty and Never Retreat.