The highlight race in Illinois this Sunday is The Chicago Handicap (G3). The prestigious turf race is set to start at 2:00 pm EST over a mile and a quarter. It should be mostly sunny for Sunday’s race leaving the track likely to be listed as firm at post time. The race this year has drawn a lucky thirteen contenders. Let’s take a glance at the field.
Drawing the rail will be five-year-old gelding Storm Of Pharoahs (American Pharoah x Storm Cat x Seattle Slew) at morning line odds of 6/1. The bay gelding owned by baffster is on a three-race winning streak. The lucky trainer picked up the gelding from former owner kingab in a $150,000 tag claiming race overseas in England. After being shipped across the pond to the States the horse has finished no worse than sixth. In his last start the gelding achieved his first stakes win in the Lexington Park Ii Turf Route over nine and a half furlongs on a firm turf course. With N. Bonus aboard on Sunday, the gelding will be making a step up in class to take on his first graded start.
Up next is the Irish four-year-old gelding Heaven Cent (IRE) (Gleneagles x Unbridled x Explodent), owned and trained by oldmoonfarms. The bay gelding is best known as a turf sprinter, but will be stretching out in distance for this race. The son of graded-placed broodmare Out Of Sight isn’t a stranger to longer distances with starts in last years’ Los Angeles Derby (G2) and Cherry Limb Stakes (G2) out in California, though neither of these races resulted in an on the board finish for gelding. He is coming off a win down in Florida in the six and a half furlong listed In Position Turf Dash. Nearly equaling a career best speed figure, the gelding won by a length after setting back off the pace for most of the race. The gelding will be going off at odds of 11/1.
At 7/2 we will have Finke Tar (IRE), (Invincible Spirit (IRE) x Generous (IRE) x Galileo (IRE)) owned by handshob21. The five-year-old bay horse is very well placed in this race and is already graded placed. Out of the Grade I and million dollar earning broodmare Tara (IRE), the colt has finished in the money in 72% of his races. This will be the horses first start in the States, shipping over from France out of the ten furlong Coupe (G3). The horse finished third after rallying late in the stretch having waited out most of the race in the middle of the pack. Jockey O.A. Haack will be aboard.
The oldest horse in the race, the eight-year-old roan Flab Bay is owned by puka. The horse is the only graded winner in the group for this Sunday’s race as well as the races highest money earner. Out of stakes placed dam Pass Knitting, the roan colt won this race back in 2017. The horse hasn’t run since February and will have to overcome a bit of a layoff to win this weekend. His most recent start came over twelve furlongs in the San Francisco Captain Handicap (G1) over the good turf. Ridden by N. Armstrong, the horse broke sluggishly out of the gate and faded in the backstretch to finish thirteenth, twenty-seven and a quarter lengths off the pace of the winner, obviously unsettled with the soft going. The connections of the colt, who put in a 94 speed figure that day, are hoping for a good comeback now that the horse is back to firmer ground.
Up next is the longshot of the race, 22/1 shot Stocking Upon Fish (NZ) (Tavistock (NZ) x Fastnet Rock (AUS) x Machivellian). Trainer whoami3 is confident however, shipping the four-year-old colt over from France after his last race. His last start was in an allowance race over a mile in which the colt started running late but ran out of ground finishing fifth, seven lengths behind. His last graded start, coming at the same distance in England was The Sundown Mile (G2) which was run in similar fashion with the colt finishing in sixth. The added distance on Sunday looks like it will probably benefit this colt.
In the number six slot the Irish-bred Green Light Go Go (IRE) (Zoffany x Shamardal x Green Desert) will be coming into line, owned and trained by graywolf6. His dam was only a claiming mare, but this five-year-old horse has certainly improved upon that with two graded placings overseas in Japan and England respectively. His most recent start was in May in his home country of Ireland in the ten and a half furlong Tattersalls Gold (G1) where he flew out of the gate with the front runners, the jockey M. Staples tucking him just off the pace in fourth. The horse would fade significantly not long after and cross the wire eighteen lengths back in tenth. His prior starts, run in much the same fashion, has gotten racegoers to wonder if the horse has lost his edge. His most recent win was a career best speed figure of one hundred eleven in a ten and a half furlong allowance race in Belgium.
Making his first career start in a graded race, Barbara Treatment (IRE) (Galileo (IRE) x Dansili (GB) x Bernardini) is trained by muscles2. Shipping back to the States after his last start in Demark, the four-year-old colt is looking to make a bit of a comeback. His most recent start was a bit of a disappointment as he never fired and crossed the wire seventh in the Echoes Turf Route, a listed race over ten furlongs. His most recent win was just the start before, coming in New York in a ten furlong allowance race. The colt rallied midway through the race to win by three and a quarter lengths and posting a speed figure of one hundred seven. Jockey on Sunday will be B.F. Abman.
In the eighth slot we will have Not A Fighter (Gio Ponti x Caerleon x Pleasant Colony) trained by jbcri45. The five-year-old bay horse will be making his first graded start in his career this weekend and looks to be ready for the step up in class after his recent three length win in a nine and a half furlong allowance race in Kentucky in which he posted an effortless one hundred four speed figure. The colt has made two listed starts in his career, the most recent of which came in Kentucky during the Local Championship Stakes where he was narrowly beaten by a head with a one hundred twelve figure. Jockey K. Bowen will be aboard.
For Dubai (IRE) (Pour Moi (IRE) x Dubai Millennium x Peintre Celebre) has the highest in the money percentage of the field running in The Chicago Handicap (G3). The four year old bay colt, owned and trained by mondialiste is lightly raced with eleven lifetime starts and only finishing off the board once in December of last year. Coming from California and the Movieland Turf Cup (G1), the colt finished third after battling head to head with the front runners before finally fading back in the stretch run. His most recent victory was in his Movieland prep race, the listed In A General Tizzy Turf Route, also at ten furlongs, this time in Louisiana. The colt secured a two length win and a lifetime best speed figure of one hundred twelve.
Stcshag trained Paradise Ballet (Speightstown x Tapit x Theatrical) is up next. The five-year-old light gray horse will be making his first graded stakes start on Sunday like much of the rest of this years’ field. His most recent start came here in Illinois during the nine and a half furlong listed Sir Tenant Turf Route where he battled head to head with another horse before the lead, gaining ground late but not enough to get by, finishing second a half length back with a lifetime speed figure of one hundred thirteen. The horses last win was in September of last year during an eight and a quarter allowance race in Delaware.
Next up Tonalist Gold (Tonalist x Seeking The Gold x Dynaformer) will be going into the gate. The five-year-old roan horse is owned by ddstables9 and will be going for his first graded stakes start over the turf, though the horse has made several attempts at the graded level on the main track. The most recent start for the horse was in Louisiana at eight and a half furlongs during the listed West With Act Turf Route. Last out of the starting gate at the break, the horse gained little ground in the race to cross the wire in eighth, nine and quarter lengths back while setting a speed figure of one hundred two. The horse hasn’t won a race since December of 2017 and this came on the dirt in New York over eight and quarter in an allowance race. The connections are hoping to strike it big over the turf this weekend though, following the horses recent surface change.
Bred in England, Medicate (ENG) (Bated Breath (GB) x Virtual (GB) x Sadler’s Wells) is out of the stakes placed broodmare Moistened Reality (GB). Owned and trained by sremel43 the four year old bay colt will be making just his fifteenth career start this weekend in The Chicago Handicap (G3) as well as his first start at graded level. The most recent start for the colt came in Maryland over ten and a half furlongs in the listed Career Debut Turf Route. The colt put in a career best speed figure in this race of one hundred thirteen and led the field impressively in a gate to wire race, winning by two and a quarter. The connections of the colt are hoping he’s at the beginning of an upswing and won’t bounce off his last start this Sunday.
The final horse in the field and drawing the far outside will be Mad Eye (JPN) (Novellist x Kings Best x Sadler’s Wells). The Japanese four year old gelding is owned by golfteam1. A one time claimer the gelding has recently been running in listed company and will be making his first start with graded company this weekend. His most recent start was here in Illinois in the Sir Tenant Turf Route where he faced fellow Chicago Handicap (G3) contender Paradise Ballet. Leading the field out of the starting gate Mad Eye (JPN) would fade midway through to cross the wire in fifth in the nine and a half furlong race while setting a speed figure of one hundred four. His most recent victory came over ten furlongs in February in which he won in gate to wire style in an allowance race in New Jersey. The gelding has finished worse than fourth only two times in his career and will have jockey O. Parker onboard on Sunday at odds of 18/1.
Win: Flab Bay
Place: Finke Tar (IRE)
Show: For Dubai (IRE)