With Julien Leparoux on board, Informed Decision wins the Chicago Handicap ahead of Rinterval at Arlington Park on Sunday.
Courtesy of Four Footed Fotos
Bettors made Informed Decision the whopping 1-5 favorite to repeat her victory in the Grade III, $100,000 Chicago Handicap at Arlington Park.
Those who bet the 2009 Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint champion on Sunday weren't disappointed by the outcome, but they had some anxious moments at the end.
After surging past the pace-setting Rinterval near the 3/16ths pole, Informed Decision never quite shook free while carrying the high weight of 124 pounds.
The game 30-1 longshot Rinterval came back and lost by only a head to Informed Decision in the 7-furlong Polytrack event. While Informed Decision's backers may have sweated it out at the finish, the 5-year-old mare's owner George Strawbridge and nationally prominent jockey Julien Leparoux weren't exactly on the edge of their seats.
"I wasn't really worried," said Leparoux, who is riding at big races around the country until he makes Saratoga his home base next month. "She was just waiting a little (for Rinterval to make a run at her on the rail). She still won pretty easy."
The Irish-bred Rinterval, ridden by Julio Felix, finished 31/2 lengths in front of third-place finisher Secret Kin and jockey E.T. Baird.
Strawbridge, who bought the horse at the 2-year-old in-training sales in Maryland, knows what to expect from Leparoux, who plans to return to Arlington on July 17 for Million Preview Day.
"(Leparoux) doesn't win by a lot," Strawbridge said. "But he knows what he has. I'm quite used to him."
Trained by Jonathan Sheppard, the gray daughter of Monarchos won for the 12th time in 17 starts, padding her bankroll to $1,892,759 while returning $2.40, $2.20 and $2.10.
"I think it was a great effort," Sheppard said. "She did only win by a small margin, but she was giving 9 pounds to horses worth half a million dollars. 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 was coming off two third-place finishes in Grade I events in Kentucky.
"Her first two races this year were a bit unlucky," Leparoux said. "So to win this one was good."
"It took a 1-5 shot to beat us," Felix said. "She (5-year-old mare Rinterval trained by Eric Reed) was pretty game all the way to the wire. I was kind of pressed on the turn and didn't get the breather I wanted.
"But she was game in defeat. This filly is the real deal. I think she is underestimated."