Tim Keeley's homebred My Option earned her first graded stakes score in the $150,000 Arlington Oaks (gr. III) at Arlington Park July 20, fending off the bid of Frivolous to preserve the decision by a determined neck (VIDEO) .
The 3-year-old Illinois-bred daughter of Belong to Me came off a runner-up finish for trainer Chris Block by half a length to Bold Kitten in the Chicagoland oval's restricted June 1 Purple Violet Stakes. On Saturday she ran 1 1/8 miles on the all weather track in 1:52.85 under jockey Eduardo Perez, besting five other sophomore fillies as the 5-2 second choice.
"She is very competitive and very classy. I was concerned that the Purple Violet took a lot out of her, so I backed off on her training," Block said. "Her works were slow early, so I kept her slow because she can get real aggressive.
"Going a mile and an eighth, I knew she was going to have to drop the bridle and settle. She did for the most part except a little around the first turn, but she settled up the backside. I liked the way she was moving up the backside and on the far turn."
My Option was well-reserved between foes in the early going as Gold Edge and 2-1 favorite Sky Girl vied for the lead through a quarter in :24.95, a half in :49.65, and three-quarters in 1:15.01. While those two went neck-and-neck, My Option steadily advanced in the four path, then was roused to challenge on the outside racing into upper stretch.
"I knew I had a lot of horse. I just tapped her on the shoulders and she took off pretty good," Perez said.
Sky Girl faded to third as the eventual winner continued with a solid late kick for a mile in 1:40.04, holding off Frivolous at the end.
My Option, bred in Illinois out of the Cohiba mare Out of Options, won the Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante Stakes as a juvenile at the end of last season to secure honors as the Illinois champion 2-year-old filly of 2012. She came back to take the Pretty Jenny Stakes in April and has now won four of six starts, with two seconds, for earnings of $261,263.
"We'll look at the Hatoof (on Aug. 17)," Block said. "That would be a race to seriously consider. We'll see how she comes out of this and we'll put that on the calendar and look at it."