06/28/2010 11:00PM

Informed Decision gets green light for Chicago


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Discouraged by stakes purse cuts at Arlington Park, Jonathan Sheppard mulled other plans for horses he was considering bringing to Chicago this summer, but while Just as Well's status for a repeat bid in the Arlington Handicap remains up in the air, Sheppard found no better option for Informed Decision than a return trip to the Chicago Handicap here Sunday.

Informed Decision worked five furlongs in a bullet 59 seconds on Saturday at Presque Isle Downs, where Sheppard has several stalls. Sheppard, who trained Informed Decision to a female sprint championship for owner George Strawbridge in 2009, attempted to fly from Columbia, S.C., to Erie, Pa., on Friday night to be present for the breeze, but his late-day, multiple-connection itinerary went awry, and Informed Decision's work was overseen by longtime assistant Barry Wiseman.

"He knows her as well as anyone," Sheppard said, "and he thought she worked very well."

Informed Decision was caught galloping out six furlongs in a sparkling 1:12, according to Sheppard. Before shipping to Presque Isle, from which she will depart for Arlington sometime Friday, Informed Decision turned in one mild work on Sheppard's wood-chip training track at his farm in southeastern Pennsylvania.

Informed Decision won 6 of 7 starts, including the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, on her way to an Eclipse Award last year, but she has finished third -- with plausible excuses -- in her two starts this year. Still, she figures to be an odds-on favorite Sunday in the seven-furlong Chicago, a race she won by almost five lengths in 2009. Julien Leparoux will be in to ride, Sheppard said.

The Chicago Handicap's purse was reduced from $150,000 to $100,000 in sweeping stakes-purse cuts made in early June. The Arlington Handicap on July 17 has been trimmed from $200,000 to $150,000, and Sheppard said he still has not decided whether Just as Well, fifth in the Manhattan last out and first in the 2009 Arlington Handicap, will ship here later this month.