Saoirse Wins Chicago Handicap

Saoirse pressed the early pace of Runaway Venus, took the lead after a 1/2-mile run in :45.14 seconds, was headed in the stretch by the late charging Quanah, and drew clear late to a 1 1/2-length victory in the $170,325 Chicago Breeders' Cup Handicap (gr.III) Sunday at Arlington International. Over a muddy track, Saoirse completed the seven furlongs in 1:23.09 under jockey David Clark.

The Happy Hopper nosed out Dif a Dot at the wire for second. Quanah faded to fourth, followed by Glitters, Runaway Venus, and Adam's Time.

Four-year-old Saoirse (Cure the Blues--Apella, by Cool Victor) won the George C. Hendrie Handicap (Can-III) in her previous start. Her other prior stakes win came in the $79,000 La Voyageuse Handicap. Sunday's win was her first race away from Woodbine where she has won six races in ten career starts. She earned $102,195 for owner Knob Hill Stable with the victory.

Saoirse was bred in Ontario by her owner and is trained by Phil England.

"We've only raced her at home so we didn't really know how good she was," said England. "When I ship I always feel that they've got to prove they're good enough to go away, and then when they do, they've got to prove they're good enough to be away."

Saoirse returned $12.40, $5.60 and $3.40. The winning exacta combination paid $56. (Chart, Equibase)