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Devil By Design Takes Grade III Chicago Handicap
Underscoring her affinity for the seven-furlong distance, John Gunther, Eurowest Bloodstock Services and Tony Chedraoui’s Devil By Design rallied three-wide into the stretch to overtake the front runners and draw off for a 1 3/4-length victory in the Grade III $100,000 Chicago Handicap Sunday at Arlington Park. The 5-year-old mare, trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott and ridden by Corey Nakatani, covered the distance in 1:25.54.
Making her first start since last November at Churchill Downs, the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro was content to track the pace of front runner Dr. Zic who led through early splits of 22.62 seconds for the opening quarter and 45.75 for the half.
“This filly had been off a little while but I had a ton of confidence in her,” Nakatani said. “Ken (McCarthy, assistant to trainer Bill Mott) told me just to be patient with her and give her a chance to win. She’s got class and this is her favorite distance. I felt very confident where I was at. I just bided my time and when I asked her, she kicked on.”
Sweeping to the lead in the center of the track just before the furlong marker, Devil by Design held off a late rally from longshot La Rocca to secure the victory, her fifth in seven tries at the distance and her first graded stakes score. She earned $58,200 for the win, her sixth in 14 starts overall, to push her bankroll to $259,874.
La Rocca closed from far back to get second in the seven-horse field, a length clear of 8-5 favorite Tidal Pool.
“She did everything right,” said Seth Martinez, who rode the runner-up. “She’s just wanting more ground.”
Jockey Eusebio Razo Jr. said of his trip aboard the beaten favorite, “Turning for home, I though we were going to get the field to open up a bit and it didn't. She didn't fire today.”
Dr. Zic, Hot Hot Mama, Hooh Why, Lookn Even Finer and Home’s the Best completed the order of finish.
Devil By Design, third choice in the wagering, paid $10.60, $5.60 and $4. La Rocca returned $13.40 and $7.60. Tidal Pool paid $3.