Overwhelming 1-5 choice Informed Decision narrowly avoided an upset when she outfought 33-1 shot Rinterval in the final furlong to win the $100,000 Chicago Handicap (gr. III) (VIDEO) by a head July 4 at Arlington Park.
Last years' Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (gr. I) winner tallied her first victory in three starts in 2010 for Augustin Stable and trainer Jonathan Sheppard. The 5-year-old Informed Decision, who completed the seven-furlong Polytrack test in a slow 1:24.34, won for the 12th time in 17 lifetime races.
Irish-bred Rinterval went to the lead along the inside right after the break for jockey Julio Felix and dictated a solid pace (:22.59, :46.51) into upper stretch when she was tackled by Informed Decision. The favorite, in stalking position in third on the outside after progressing on the turn, drew even at mid-stretch. Informed Decision, under a couple of right-handed taps from jockey Julien Leparoux, got a narrow lead in deep stretch and held on under steady handling as a determined Rinterval battled back all the way to the wire.
Informed Decision carried 124 pounds, seven more than Rinterval, which was noted by Sheppard afterward.
“I think it was a great effort,” Sheppard said of his daughter of Monarchos . “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.”
Informed Decision paid $2.40, $2.20, and $2.10, but the exacta with the longest shot in the field of seven mares, was $33.
Rinterval, making her graded stakes debut for trainer Eric Reed and owner Jerry Jamgotchian, a noted critic of synthetic racetracks, returned $13.60 and $6.20.
"(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.”
“(Informed Decision) was pretty comfortable, but (Rinterval) did come back to me at the wire,” Leparoux said. “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.”
Informed Decision was coming off back-to-back third place finishes in the Vinery Madison Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland and the Humana Distaff (gr. I) on a sloppy track at Churchill Downs this spring.
It was 3 1/2 lengths back to Chicago Handicap third-place finisher Secret Kin, ridden by E.T. Baird. Never Retreat, Minewander, Diamond Song, and Lookalike completed the order of finish. Hooh Why was scratched.
Informed Decision earned $58,800 to push her bankroll to $1,892,759. Bred in Kentucky by veterinarians Chuck Kidder and Nancy Cole, the winning 5-year-old gray/roan mare is out of Palangana (by His Majesty).