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Cozze Up Lady Seeks Chicago Handicap Repeat

A field of 10 fillies and mares topped by defending champion Cozze Up Lady and the highweighted Apropos are set to square off in Saturday's Grade III $150,000 Chicago Handicap at seven furlongs over Polytrack.  The Chicago Handicap is the featured 9th race on the 11-race card that starts at 1:00 p.m. Central time.

Cozze Up Lady, who races for the partnership of Martin Racing, Morgan Thoroughbred Farm, Westwind Property and Fairfellow Farm, rallied from 11 lengths off the pace at the half-mile to get up for a three-quarters of a length victory in the 2013 renewal of this race.  Since that score, the daughter of Cozzene won an off-the-turf edition of the $60,000 Mardi Gras Stakes at the Fair Grounds before finishing sixth in the Grade I Madison at Keeneland and fourth in the Grade III Winning Colors at Churchill Downs.  The 5-year-old mare is being reunited with jockey Miguel Mena, who was aboard the Bret Calhoun trainee for last year's tally.

Her task will be anything but easy as she faces nine talented distaffers including Claiborne Farm's Apropos, winner of the $100,000 American Beauty Stakes at Oaklawn Park in January.  Since that race, the daughter of First Samurai has taken the same route to the Chicago Handicap as Cozze Up Lady - finishing ahead of that rival when third in the Madison and behind her when sixth in the Winning Colors.  Chris Emigh will ride the Al Stall Jr.-trained 5-year-old for the first time Saturday.

A number of locally based fillies and mares figure prominently in the Chicago Handicap including Lothenbach Stables' Eden Prairie; Timothy Keeley's My Option; Nancy Vanier, Cartwright Thoroughbreds and Win-Place-Show Me Racing's Chortle; and Dare to Dream Stables, Little Bear Racing Stable and Ingrid Mason's Flower Spell.

The Neil Pessin-trained Eden Prairie is a multiple stakes-winning daughter of Mizzen Mast who numbers the $75,000 Pago Hop and the Listed $75,000 Marie Krantz Memorial Handicap at the Fair Grounds among her five lifetime scores.  The 4-year-filly will have the services of the meet's leading rider Florent Geroux Saturday.

My Option, the reigning Illinois-bred champion female sprinter, won the 2013 edition of the Grade III Arlington Oaks and was second in last year's $100,000 Purple Violet Stakes over Arlington's Polytrack.  In addition to her local Oaks win, she is graded-stakes placed in the Grade III Pucker Up on turf here and the Grade II Raven Run over Polytrack at Keeneland. The Chris Block-trained daughter of Belong to Me retuns to her local base after running sixth in the Grade III Hendrie Stakes at Woodbine.  Eduardo Perez has the mount.

The Brian Williamson-trained Chortle rates a big chance with three of her five lifetime victories coming over synthetic surfaces including a May 16 allowance victory at six furlongs in which she beat Flower Spell by a head.  Edgar Perez will ride the 4-year-old Posse filly.

Flower Spell rebounded from her defeat in the aforementioned May 16 allowance race to win a five-furlong turf dash two weeks ago.  Ingrid Mason trains the 4-year-old daughter of Flower Alley who won the $65,000 Meafara Stakes here last summer.  Her regular rider, Rosemary Homeister Jr., will once again be in the irons on Saturday.

Another mare of note in the Chicago Handicap is last year's runner-up, Susie and Ed Orr and Alfonso J. Mazzetti's Queen's Award.  The daughter of Medaglia d'Oro has raced five time since last year's Chicago Handicap including a victory in the Listed $100,000 Buffalo Trace Franklin County at Keeneland.  Most recently, the 7-year-old mare ran fifth in the Listed $100,000 Giant's Causeway at Keeneland.  Sheldon Russell gets the call.

Others in the Chicago Handicap (with jockeys listed) are: Diane Manning's Disco Barbie (Antonio Gallardo), who carries a two-race win streak into Saturday's headliner; TK Stables' Allanah (C. H. Marquez Jr.), a multiple winner over synthetic courses; and recent Isaac Murphy Handicap heroine Meryl Squires-Cannon's Fire Trick (Emmanuel Esquivel).


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