06/29/2013 5:25PM

Arlington Park: Cozze Up Lady gets job done in Chicago Handicap


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - It didn't work out the way trainer Bret Calhoun expected, but it worked out nonetheless for Cozze Up Lady, who bulled between horses past the three-sixteenths pole and won the Grade 3, $150,000 Chicago Handicap by three-quarters of a length. Queen's Award finished second, and Grade 1-winning favorite Aubby K was third in her synthetic-surface debut.

Cozze Up Lady ($10/40) is not a speed-crazy filly, but she had been on or near the early pace in her last six starts, and Calhoun said he expected jockey Miguel Mena to find a similar spot Saturday. Instead, after breaking seventh, Cozze Up Lady was guided toward the inside to take up a mid-pack position as Flower Spell, who had broken through the gate before the start, laid down fast splits of 22.64 seconds for her opening quarter-mile and 45.04 for the first half.

"It surprised me," Calhoun said. "I expected her to be closer."

Mena, though, was happy with his position, and Cozze Up Lady began picking off horses around the far turn before running into a traffic jam straightening out for home. Mena hunted a spot inside, found none, and then swung out for room, just squeaking through a tight gap as Cozze Up Lady quickened nicely, catching a tiring Flower Spell at the sixteenth pole while outfinishing Queen's Award to her inside.

"It wasn't until Miguel finally got her in the clear that I felt confident at all," said Calhoun, who had pointed Cozze Up Lady to this race since she won a Keeneland Polytrack allowance race in April. Cozze Up Lady, a 4-year-old daughter of Cozzene owned by a partnership, was timed in 1:23.06 for seven furlongs on Polytrack. The win was her first in a stakes of any sort.

Jockey Eddie Castro said Aubby K, winner of the Grade 1 Humana Distaff last out, didn't feel entirely comfortable in her all-weather-surface debut. Castro, racing on the outside, tried to hold in the winner as Cozze Up Lady made her move, but didn't have quite enough horse to do so.
"She gave me a punch, but it wasn't that strong," Castro said.

Behind Aubby K came Maude S, Flower Spell, Drama Drama - who had to check sharply when the winner came out for room - Dr. Diamonds Prize, La Song, and Lady Chesterfield.