Saturday, March 21, 2009 12:00 AM
FLORENCE, KY . . . March 21, 2009 . . . The locally based Hot Cha Cha became a stakes winner in her first such attempt with an impressive 6-length tally in the Grade III, $150,000 Bourbonette Oaks for 3-year-old fillies.
Ridden by Orlando Mojica, the Cactus Ridge filly endured a wide trip due to the far outside post position in the field of 10. But Hot Cha Cha was able to circle the field from the eighth position and carve into the early lead of pacesetters Fitz Just Right and Instrumentalist. She wore those two down in the stretch and drew off to an easy win. Fitz Just Right, the 7-5 favorite, held on for second, a head in front of Instrumentalist at the wire.
Philip Sims trains Hot Cha Cha for Nelson McMakin. Hot Cha Cha has made all five career starts at Turfway Park, including two maiden claiming events to begin her career.
Sent off at 9-1, Hot Cha Cha came into the Bourbonette off a half-length allowance win at Turfway over Complicity, who won today's fifth race. Today's win was the third of Hot Cha Cha's brief career.
"We decided to take a shot," said Sims. "She ran so well last time that I told Mr. McMakin that we should take a chance here. Her last race was her first time around two turns and she loved it. She has the pedigree for it. The race just set up perfect for us with the speed and the 10 hole. We were happy when we got that."
Sims does not plan to run Hot Cha Cha back in the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs. "It's just too soon," he said. "It's a long summer. There are races like the Arlington Oaks, which is on the Polytrack. I think that's where she needs to be, and maybe turf."
Cornelio Velasquez, who piloted Fitz Just Right, was satisfied with his filly's effort. "She ran okay," he said. "She got a little tired the last part of the race. That other filly went by me pretty fast. She ran a very good race. I have no excuses. That other filly just beat us."
Hot Cha Cha paid $20.00, $7.20, and $5.00. Final time for the one-mile distance was 1:37.22.
The order of finish in the Bourbonette: Hot Cha Cha, Fitz Just Right, Instrumentalist, Walloon, Stone Legacy, Super Poni, Oculuna, Honchis’n Ponchis, Foxy Bailey and Step Out Smartly.