Ce Ce Punches Her Ticket To Breeders’ Cup With Princess Rooney Victory

by Paulick Report Staff
Hallandale  Beach, FL (July 3, 2021)-At Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Fla, a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint at Del Mar was up for grabs in the seven-furlong Grade 2 Princess Rooney Stakes. Facing a field that included Bed o’ Roses Stakes winner Estilo Talentoso and Ouija Board Distaff winner Laura’s Light, Ce Ce earned another spot in a Breeders’ Cup gate with her 3 1/4-length victory in the Princess Rooney.

At the break, Laura’s Light stumbled while the rest of the field got away clean, with Pacific Gale quickest to the lead. Under rider Victor Espinoza, who had won the Smile Sprint just half an hour earlier, Ce Ce stalked the early pace in fourth, content to wait for the final turn to put in her move, while Thissmytime and Pacific Gale briefly battled for the lead, Sound Machine just behind them. Romero Maragh powered Pacific Gale to the lead as they neared the final turn, with Sound Machine making her move just behind them.

Ce Ce and Estilo Talentoso went wide on the final turn as they geared up for their stretch runs, narrowing the gap between them, Sound Machine, and Pacific Gale. They went into the stretch four-wide, but Ce Ce was fastest in the stretch, splitting horses to take an easy lead over Estilo Talentoso and Sound Machine. The winning margin was 3 1/4 lengths with Ce Ce finishing the seven furlongs in 1:21.94. Hallawallah, Pacific Gale, Laura’s Light, Heiressall, and Thissmytime rounded out the field.

The G2 Princess Rooney Stakes is a Win and You’re In race for the 2021 Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar in Del Mar, Calif. Winners receive a free and guaranteed spot in the starting gate for the corresponding Breeders’ Cup race.

Victor Espinoza was thrilled with his mount’s performance. “She’s pretty impressive. She loves this track, it’s a little different than what she’s been running at,” Espinoza said. “Today, she ran her race. They were rolling, the ones in front of me. I know they’re going to get tired turning for home, so I just gave her enough time to split the horses.”

Trainer Michael McCarthy watched the race at Los Alamitos Race Track in Cypress, Calif., happy with the show she put on in the stretch. “I thought we were in a good spot. I was hoping to have a bit of a target to run at. I told Victor not to get in a hurry and not rush her out of there and ride her where she was comfortable. We were hoping for a nice stalking trip, and that we did. Around the turn, it looked like we had plenty of run. It was just a matter of trying to get outside and finding our best stride, and we did that today.”

Ce Ce paid $7.40, $3.40, and $2.60. Second-place Estilo Talentoso paid $2.60 and $2.20. Sound Machine paid $5.00 to show.

With this win, Ce Ce earns another chance at a Breeders’ Cup win after finishing fifth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Keeneland. Sired by Elusive Quality out of the Belong To Me mare Miss Houdini, Ce Ce was bred in Kentucky by owner Bo Hirsch. The Princess Rooney is Ce Ce’s second win in three starts in 2021 and her sixth career victory in 13 starts and $1,113,100 in total winnings.