The Bret Calhoun-trained filly Cozze Up Lady notched her first stakes victory when coming from off the pace to win the $150,000 Chicago Handicap (gr. III) June 29 by three-quarters of a length at Arlington Park (VIDEO).
With jockey Miguel Mena in the irons, Cozze Up Lady was content to sit off the pace in sixth as Flower Spell sped through early splits :22.64 for the opening quarter, :45.04 for a half-mile, and three-quarters in 1:10.07. Flower Spell led by three lengths near the furlong mark before tiring, and Cozze Up Lady produced a soild late bid to prevail under firm handling.
"We had a really good trip," Mena said. "This filly has been doing really good. She ran a couple of big races in Kentucky. She broke good and there was a really good pace in front of us. We just had to wait to get through and we did that at the three-sixteenths pole. She was home free."
The 4-year-old daughter of Cozzene picked up her second straight tally and third in four starts this year for owners Martin Racing, Morgan Thoroughbred, Westwind Property, and breeder Farfellow Farms. She earned $86,400 from the $150,000 purse to boost her career bankroll to $250,431 while improving her overall record to five wins from 11 starts.
"We had a lot of confidence and we were pointing for this race for a while," said Calhoun. "She's in very good form and we thought she'd like the synthetic surface. We thought seven-eighths would be a real good distance for her. It's been a goal for us to get some graded stakes wins under her. We got this one done and hopefully there will be more in the future."
Queen's Award, who raced closer to the pace than the winner early on, rallied to get the place money.
"The only issue I had was that the horse in front of me didn't corner well, so I had to go out around her and that forced me to move probably about 50 yards earlier than I wanted to," said her jockey Kent Desormeaux. "But the winner came around me, so she had the same problem."
Grade I stakes winner Aubby K, the 17-10 post time favorite, could not finish better than third in the nine-horse race.
"I don't think she handled (the Polytrack) really well," said Eddie Castro, who rode the beaten favorite. "She gave me a bunch, but not enough."
Kentucky-bred Cozze Up Lady, who is out of the Johannesburg mare The White Lady, returned $10.40, $5.80, and $3.80. Queen's Reward paid $8.40 and $4.80, while Aubby K paid $2.80 to show.