Updated on 09/17/2011 10:20PM

Royal Copenhagen upsets Singhalese in Pucker Up

Benoit Photo
Royal Copenhagen rallies from far back to overtake race favorite Singhalese inside the sixteenth pole to win the Grade III $200,000 Pucker Up Stakes by a half-length on Saturday.

Singhalese was 3-5, but it was Royal Copenhagen, another Californian, who had the last, best move in the Grade 3, $200,000 at Arlington Park on Saturday.

Singhalese, ridden by Mike Smith, stalked a swift pace in the Pucker Up, and that might have been her undoing. Royal Copenhagen and jockey Shaun Bridgmohan were eighth of 11 on the backstretch, moved up on the inside going around the far turn, and swung out four wide for the stretch run.

Singhalese had raced in fourth place on the backstretch, just a few lengths off a half-mile in a quick 47.17 seconds, and moved up without cover on the far turn. Which filly had the most in the final furlong? Royal Copenhagen, who came up to the leader at the sixteenth pole and pushed past for a half-length win.

"I was going to clock [Singhalese] the whole time," said Bridgmohan. "When she moved, I was going to follow her."

Singhalese got bet down because she had won the Grade 1 Del Mar Oaks in her most recent race. But Laura de Seroux, Royal Copenhagen's trainer, skipped the Oaks to point to the Pucker Up. Those wondering why a trainer would pass a Grade 1 at home to run in a Grade 3 on the road need only look at Royal Copenhagen's owner: Arlington chairman Dick Duchossois.

"I wanted her as fresh as possible for this race," de Seroux said.

The Pucker Up was Royal Copenhagen's first win since being purchased out of France last year at age 2. While running well in several stakes races this season, Royal Copenhagen had managed only four seconds in seven starts.

Her breakthrough came by way of a big stretch punch. Royal Copenhagen, who paid $14.20 to win, was timed in 1:48.76 for 1 1/8 miles on good turf, including a final furlong in something like 11.60 seconds. Isla Cozzene, still another California shipper, finished a distant third.