On Saturday at Gulfstream Park Ce Ce wins facing a field that included Bed o’ Roses Stakes winner Estilo Talentoso and Ouija Board Distaff winner Laura’s Light; the 5 year old mare earned another spot in a Breeders’ Cup gate with her 3 1/4-length victory in the Princess Rooney Stakes.

At the break, Laura’s Light stumbled while the rest of the field got away cleanly, 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 battled for the lead, and Sound Machine just behind them. Romero Maragh powered Pacific Gale to the lead as they neared the final turn; with Sound Machine also making her move.

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.”

The winner mare 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.

Princess Rooney Stakes History

The inaugural running of the event was on 10 August 1985 at Calder Race Course as the Princess Rooney Handicap.

The event is named in honor for the U.S. Hall of Fame filly Princess Rooney, who won her first four starts at the Calder racetrack.

The event was contested at a distance of seven furlongs until 1997. The event was run at six furlongs from 1998 to 2015.

In 1999, the event was upgraded to Grade III status by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association and carried a $300,000 purse. Three years later the event was upgraded again to Grade II. The event was a Grade I event from 2006 to 2014.

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