Roca Rojo Scores Narrowly in CD Distaff Turf Mile

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7th at CD , $300,000GII Churchill Distaff Turf Mile (1m)Winner: Roca Rojo (Ire), m, 5 by Strategic Prince (GB)

Roca Rojo| Coady

Roca Rojo eeked out the narrowest of victories over game pacesetter Believe in Bertie to capture her second graded event. Favored after the scratch of MGISW turf miler Miss Temple City (Temple City), the bay pressed Louisiana-bred Believe in Bertie from second, running in the two path through soft early fractions over a rain-soaked course labeled as good. Roca Rojo drew even with Hurricane Bertie turning for home and the pair duked it out all the way to the wire with Roca Rojo winning the bob in a tight photo finish. Linda completed the trifecta. It was the second straight graded stakes win of the day for trainer Chad Brown, who took the GI Humana Distaff one race prior with Paulassilverlining (Ghostzapper).

“She’s been training really well,” Brown said. “We knew she could handle the soft going. She’s equally as good on firm. We were a little concerned about the pace and it played out that way. It was a soft pace with a very good horse setting the fractions, a really solid horse. She had her work cut out for her to run her down. We’ll look at the [GI] Just a Game [June 10], that makes a lot of sense, in five weeks at a mile at Belmont.”

A two-time winner in Ireland in May 2015 for previous trainer Adrian McGuiness and owner the Roca Partnership, Roca Rojo was privately purchased by bloodstock agent Pete Bradley on behalf of his Bradley Thoroughbreds, Sheep Pond Partners and Newport stables. Transferred to the U.S.-based Brown, she returned off a 13-month layoff to capture her debut for that barn in a Belmont optional claimer in June and was fourth next out in Saratoga’s De La Rose S. Aug. 6. The 5-year-old returned to winning ways in Elmont, starting with a Sept. 15 optional claimer and followed by her Athenia score. Oct. 23. She was last seen missing by a nose to Miss Temple City in Del Mar’s GI Matriarch S. Dec. 4.

Pedigree Notes:

The winner is a half-sister to multimillionaire Beauty Flame, who won a Group 2 and was MG1SP in Hong Kong. Her dam produced a juvenile colt by Footstepsinthesand (GB) and a yearling colt by Kodiac (GB).

Saturday, Churchill Downs
CHURCHILL DISTAFF TURF MILE S. PRESENTED BY LONGINES-GII, $300,000, CD, 5-6, 4yo/up, f/m, 1mT, 1:37.53, gd.
1–ROCA ROJO (IRE), 118, m, 5, by Strategic Prince (GB)
1st Dam: Lucy Diamonds (Ire), by Orpen
2nd Dam: Lucy In The Sky (Ire), by Lycius
3rd Dam: Nazwa (Ire), by Tarboosh
O-Sheep Pond Partners, Newport Stables LLC & Bradley
Thoroughbreds; B-Mr Tommy Murphy (IRE); T-Chad C. Brown;
J-Florent Geroux. $182,280. Lifetime Record: 8-6-1-0,
$490,542. *1/2 to Beauty Flame (Ire) (Footstepsinthesand
{GB}), GSW & MG1SP-HK, $2,121,089. Werk Nick Rating: A+.
Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.2–Believe in Bertie, 118, f, 4, Langfuhr–Saint Bertie, by Street
Cry (Ire). O-Klein Racing; B-Richard & Bertram Klein (LA);
T-Brad H. Cox. $58,800.
3–Linda, 120, f, 4, Scat Daddy–Beautiful Noise, by Sunny’s Halo.
O-Whitham Thoroughbreds LLC; B-Janis R. Whitham (KY);
T-Ian R. Wilkes. $29,400.Margins: HD, 3 1/4, NK. Odds: 1.30, 3.40, 3.70.
Also Ran: Mississippi Delta, Prize Exhibit (GB), Hillhouse High, Harmonize. Scratched: Miss Temple City. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

 

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