Multiple Illinois champion filly My Option added to her resume with an impressive 6½-length victory over Flower Spell in the Grade III $150,000 Chicago Handicap on Saturday at Arlington International Racecourse.
Eduardo Perez rode the Chris Block-trained filly who covered the 7 furlongs over Polytrack in 1:23.72. Dispatched at odds of more than 5-1, she paid $13.20, $5.40 and $3.60.
Flower Spell led through fractions of 23.40 seconds, 46.52 seconds and 1:10.93 before being swallowed up by the winner, a Tim Keeley homebred daughter of Belong to Me who was the Illinois champion 3-year-old filly and champion sprint distaffer last year.
"She's the kind of filly who needs to lay back and make one run," Block said of the filly who was exiting a sixth-place finish in the Grade III Hendrie Stakes at Woodbine last month. "She broke outward that day and she got into the race a little too quickly. She was a little too involved in the pace early on and that cost her but she still dug in hard and got a lot out of the race. That was our stepping stone to today.
"She's trained great coming up to it," he said. "She and Eddie (jockey Perez) get along really well. At the three-eighths pole, I was confident. I know her and I know Eddie's posture when he's got a lot of horse. He found a nice spot and the rest was history."
Flower Spell ($8 and $4.20) easily lasted to finish second in the nine-horse field, a length and a quarter clear of 8-5 favorite Disco Barbie ($3.20).
"She ran beautiful. Ingrid Mason has trained her to perfection," said Rosemary Homeister Jr., who rode the runner-up. "Seven-eighths is just a hair too far for her, but we were trying to steal it. She gave it every effort that she had. I can't say enough about how well Ingrid got her ready. Also, it's so nice to team up with another woman and run so well in a race like this. It makes me proud."
Despite being two-for-two over all-weather surfaces, Disco Barbie didn't seem to take hold of the Arlington Polytrack said her rider, Antonio Gallardo. "Today I think the track was a little bit loose for her. At Presque Isle Downs, the track is a little bit tight(er). She didn't feel comfortable with the loose track. She was also a little bit nervous today and was sweating. She tried to make her run -- she's a nice filly."
For My Option, the Chicago Handicap was the fifth victory in 13 starts and she's never finished worse than second on Arlington's Polytrack. She earned $86,400 to push her bankroll to $418,557.
Allanah, Eden Prairie, Fire Tricks, defending champion Cozze Up Lady, Queen's Award and Chortle completed the order of finish. Apropos was scratched after being injured in the paddock.