06/29/2010 11:00PM

Romacaca weighing options for weekend


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - It is not exactly on a par with the connections of Zenyatta weighing a start in the Breeders' Cup Classic against the Breeders' Cup Ladies' Classic in 2009, but there are decisions to be made about where Romacaca runs this weekend. The filly with the name that's either fun or embarrassing to say - depending on personality type - is entered in both the featured eighth race Friday at Arlington, an allowance race with a purse of just more than $34,000, and the $75,000 Independence Day on Saturday evening at Mountaineer Park. And Romacaca looks like a major player in either spot.

"At this moment in time, I honestly don't know what we're going to do," Steve Leving, racing manager for owner Frank Calabrese, said early Wednesday afternoon.

The race at Mountaineer offers more money and competition probably no tougher than what Romacaca would face at Arlington, where she was one of nine horses entered in a 1 1/16-mile grass race open to third-level allowance horses, horses who have not won two races in 2010, and $80,000 claimers. But Romacaca has never ventured onto the turf course at Mountaineer; she excels on Arlington's grass, over which she has won 4 of 5 starts, with a second-place finish in the Grade 3 Pucker Up last summer.

"Romacaca has always loved the Arlington turf course," Leving said.

Romacaca's form crested in the Sept. 7 Pucker Up, where she was beaten only by subsequent Grade 1 winner Hot Cha Cha. At Gulfstream Park, Romacaca finished second in the $100,000 Marshua's River, then was fourth in the Grade 3 Honey Fox, and fourth in a third-level allowance race, but Leving said the filly prefers Arlington's turf to the course at Gulfstream. Making her first start for trainer Nick Canani, Romacaca won a third-level allowance here May 30, beating A She's Adorable, who returned to win a turf stakes at Delaware Park.

Closeout, however, could prove a worthy rival Friday. Closeout won the 2008 Pucker Up here but was fifth last September when heavily favored in a division of the Illinois Owners Stakes. She was sixth on June 5 in the Nassau Stakes at Woodbine, a Grade 2, but takes a class drop Friday and figures a strong win threat with a return to her better form.