Princess Rooney Stakes (BC) (Grade 2)- $250.000 Purse
GP- For Fillies and Mares Three Years Old and Upward
Seven Furlongs on the Dirt
June 30, 2018
BC hopefuls have found their way to GP this Saturday for the 14th running of the Princess Rooney Stakes, a Grade 2 event that will go a long way in sending its winner to the BC Fillies and Mares Sprint later this year. Last year’s winner, Make It Known, did not go that route though, so it is not a foregone conclusion that our winner will be BC-bound. Speaking of past winners, there are many great ones on the leaderboard, including two that were able to win this race twice. The first to do that was Blonde Dynamite, winning in 2007 and 2008. Later on, Avery Island would win twice, with her wins coming in 2012 and 2014. The race had a bigger purse back in the older days when it was held at CRC. It was also six furlongs back then. The race was moved to GP in 2015, and became a seven furlong race in 2016. We will have a field of ten for the race, so let’s take a look at the runners!
#1- Gottahotone (Team 7 Illusions, ridden by G Franco)- This five year old mare continues to perform at a high level, and was not bothered by running in the mud at KEE a couple of months ago, finishing second in the Grade 1 Vinery Madison. Her run of consistency can make us wish to see her out on the track with a little more frequency, but even with that last race, it’ll be almost three months. Last year, she got a big check in the BC Fillies and Mares Sprint, with a third place effort there. Time and time again, she consistently gets the job done, and the only question mark on her is that she is the high weight in the field.
#2- Toleration (Mb Stables, ridden by S X Bridgmohan)- The General Motors filly has earned over $1,100.000 in her career, which has seen seven wins in 17 starts. Some of her best starts came during her three year old season, including a win in the $500.000 WO Oaks, but that has carried on into this year. In April, she won the $700.000 Grade 1 Apple Blossom, topping the likes of The Reaper and Queenwood in the process. That did not carry over into the Grade 1 Beholder at the beginning of the month, but every now and then she seems to have a dud. She has never failed to hit the board in consecutive races, however.
#3- Oyster Puff (Mb Stables, ridden by J Alvarado)- It has been about a year now since Mb Stables acquired this filly in private sales for $55.000, and its safe to say she has become a successful investment. However, despite seeing frequent stake action by her prior trainer, Allinthegate, Oyster Puff has mostly run in open allowances this year. The last three such races she has been in, she has won. In between those wins, was an attempt at the Grade 2 Santa Monica, where she finished off the board. I always like horses that know how to win, and she’s a possibility here, but not one of my top picks.
#4- Long December (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by C J Lanerie)- Since being claimed by $35.000, there has become reason to believe that maybe this year will be better then the last, for Long December. She mainly ran in claimers last year, which led to her ending up with D J C Racing Stables who immediately graduated her to the stake level. He started small, by entering her in the $60.000 Sis City, which she won. That was followed up with placement in the Grade 3 Vagrancy last month, but she didn’t like the mud that day. She’s improving, but I want to see how she fares against this company before putting more faith in her.
#5- Set In Stone (Smokey Stover, ridden by A A Gallardo)- This filly has followed up an impressive three year old season that saw her take five out of nine quite well. She has been in the money in five out of six starts this year, with two ending up in the winners circle. Set In Stone ran in a graded race here and there, but primarily was seen running in NY-bred races, including three stake wins with that conditions. Now, she’s taken it up a notch and is commonly racing at this level now. Still looking for her first graded win, but has been getting closer. Very consistent filly in regards to her SRF’s.
#6- Steel Calling (Mb Stables, ridden by R Chirinos)- The third of the entries that Mb Stables will bring to the race, and her consistency level is also to be appreciated. In twelve starts, she has been in the money in ten of them, and only once has she finished worse then fourth. However, the glass half empty approach on that could say that a lot of the races she has run in have been with rather small fields. Her biggest win to this point is the $125.000 Classy N Smart for ON-breds. A couple times she has tried graded races, but has yet to pick up a win in one.
#7- Cmon Yall (Gdp Inc, ridden by J L Ortiz)- Claimed late last year for just $20.000, Cmon Yall has been able to bounce back and show some form that she was hinting that she might have when she was a two year old. She ran third in the Grade 3 Tempted way back when, but never followed that up. Since arriving with Gdp, she’s been very good with three ungraded stakes, plus the Grade 3 Hurricane Bertie all having her be within a length of a victory. She’s been knocking on the door, and still needs that signature win. This would certainly be it, if it were to happen.
#8- Amen Sista (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by E Jaramillo)- Here’s the one that I will hope can win the race solely for selfish reasons. She is out of Clutch Situation, one of my favorite horses that I had ever raced while in my barn. Amen Sista has been sharp in her career, especially early as a pair of third place finishes in Grade 1’s saw her qualify for the BC Juvenile Fillies. This year, she has been slow to follow up on that, but did get a win in the $100.000 Franklin Square back in February. She is the only three year old in this field, and one of the three low weights at 117 points. Though I will be rooting for her, I think she could be in tough here, but I know better then to rule her out.
#9- Capella Rising (Stone Creek Farm, ridden by V Espinoza)- This is a very appealing filly in this race. A year ago around this time, she was winning a $6.250 claimer at ALB, and has since passed through a couple barns to arrive at Stone Creek Farms, where she has been superb. Stone Creek picked up her for a $16.000 tag, and immediately believed in her, putting her in the $100.000 Spring Fever Stakes for CA-breds, and she would finish second in a close photo. The trainer kept increasing the challenge, and Capella Rising kept succeeding, and is now coming off a win in the Grade 3 Desert Stormer at SA. She has been first or second in her last seven starts, and I love consistency like that. I’m giving her the nod here to surprise some these big names.
#10- The Reaper (John Henry, ridden by J R Leparoux)- Finally, we get the most successful horse in the field. The Reaper has been a star, with ten wins in 32 career starts, amassing over $2,600.000 in career earnings. A lot of that stems from her achievement of being both a BC Juvenile Fillies winner and a KYO winner in 2014/2015, but it is good to see her continue to have an extended career of success. She is still getting it done, as after all she was second in the Apple Blossom just two months ago. Still finishing near the front, and still one of the better horses in the game.