11/29/2012 4:30PM

Hawthorne: My Option tries to transfer form to dirt in Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante


STICKNEY, Ill. – My Option ran well finishing second in her career debut on Polytrack and performed even better winning a turf race in the second start of her career, and if My Option’s form transfers to dirt, she should be a formidable favorite Saturday at Hawthorne in the $125,000 Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante.

My Option, along with Send the Check, is one of two Chris Block-trained runners in the Whitworth and one of 10 Illinois-bred 2-year-old fillies entered in the 1 1/16-mile dirt race. The rich purse combined with highly restrictive conditions has, as usual, produced a number of runners who don’t appear to have a strong chance. Six of the 10 entrants, in fact, remain eligible for a maiden race.

But not My Option, who cleared the maiden ranks Oct. 25 at Hawthorne with a solid turf-route victory in an open race. By Belong to Me, Out of Options hails from a grass-oriented female family, and Block, who trains for owner-breeder Tim Keeley, said he thinks the filly’s long-term future lies on turf. But My Option has shown enough on dirt to make Block think her talent could get her home Saturday.

“I have a sense that My Option will be all right on dirt,” Block said. “Her breezes on it have been good enough to make us think she’ll be okay. In this race, you have to be able to get the distance, and I think she can.”

Block’s other starter, Send the Check, finished fifth behind My Option in the Oct. 25 turf maiden race. She’s a half-sister to the multiple Illinois champion Giant Oak, but lacks that horse’s scope, Block said.

“The problem with her is she’s really small,” Block said. “She gives it her all, but she has to work harder to get things done.”

Two of the top finishers from the Nov. 10 Showtime Deb Stakes, winner Julmae and dead-heat runner-up Indygo Kiss are in the Whitworth, but the Showtime Deb was a slowly run sprint race, and neither horse is anything like a sure thing to stretch out with success. Probably the biggest threat to My Option is Sugar Kate, the filly who finished second behind her in the turf maiden race. Sugar Kate rallied solidly for second that day and has posted some encouraging workouts over the Hawthorne main track.