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Informed Decision Repeats as Chicago Handicap Heroine
While not exactly the dominating performance expected of a 1-5 favorite, Augustin Stable's Informed Decision did manage to prevail by a head over a very game Rinterval in the Grade III $100,000 Chicago Handicap, the July 4 holiday headliner at Arlington Park.
Ridden by Julien Leparoux, the Jonathan Sheppard-trained daughter of Monarchos won the Chicago Handicap for the second straight year by covering the seven furlongs in 1:24.34. Following last year's victory in the Chicago ‘Cap, Informed Decision went on to win the Grade I Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint and was named the 2009 Champion Female Sprinter.
"I think it was a great effort," Sheppard said. "She did only win by a small margin but she was giving nine pounds to horses worth half a million dollars. I think the rest of them were a good ways behind. It was a little too close for comfort but she got the job done. That's the name of the game. That's why you have handicaps to make everyone have an even chance."
Rinterval, with Julio Felix in the irons, broke on top and went to the lead, taking the field of distaffers though fractions of 22.59 seconds, 46.51 seconds and 1:11.17.
Meanwhile, Leparoux had the defending champion in perfect striking position and engaged the pacesetter in the stretch. Rinterval dug in but Informed Decision was able to wrestle the lead away and hold off the late resurgence of that rival.
"He (trainer Eric Reed) wanted me on the lead, so that's where I had to be," Felix said. "The pace was hot, as hot as the day (87 degrees at post time) and I think if the race had been a little farther, I would have come back and got her."
"She was pretty comfortable but she did come back to me at the wire," Leparoux said of the winner. "She was still running very good. She feels good. Her first two races (this year) were a bit unlucky, so to win today was good."
For Informed Decision, the Chicago Handicap was the 12th win in 17 starts. She earned $58,800 to push her bankroll to $1,892,759. Sent off as the prohibitive choice in the field of seven, she paid $2.40, $2.20 and $2.10.
Rinterval, dispatched at 33-1, returned $13.60 and $6.20. It was another 3 ½ lengths back to third-place finisher Secret Kin, who paid $3.40.
Never Retreat, Minewander, Diamond Song and Lookalike completed the order of finish.