09/14/2007 11:00PM

Love Handles runs down speed

EmailARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Sixteen winners yes, but the Arlington Park meet has doled out plenty of frustration to trainer Brian Williamson, who also has sent out 28 horses to finish second and 24 more that checked in third.

Until Saturday, Love Handles was part of that bad-luck parade, but in the Ada L. Rice Illinois Owners Stakes, things finally broke her way - and Williamson's.

Getting a dream trip under suddenly stakes-hot jockey Diego Sanchez, Love Handles was up by a half-length over even-money Jennie R. in the Ada Rice, a $100,000 turf race restricted to horses owned by Illinois residents.

This time, it was Jennie R. who was a tough-luck loser. A confirmed front-runner who just missed winning the Grade 3 Modesty Handicap earlier this meet, she and jockey E.T. Baird avoided an all-out speed duel with Honour Colony, but still wound up being pulled along into a hot pace. Honour Colony went a half-mile on firm turf in 47.02 seconds, and three-quarters in 1:10.89, before Jennie R. took her measure. But all the while, Sanchez was inching up the fence with the rail-drawn Love Handles. He swung out in midstretch, Love Handles quickened up nicely, and she ran down a game Jennie R. in the final half-furlong.

"It's been kind of a rough summer, but this one was good," said Williamson, who trains Love Handles for his mother-in-law, Nancy Vanier, and Cartwright Thoroughbreds.

Williamson said he began using Sanchez this meet "because he saves ground and he's real patient," which was exactly the sort of ride he got Saturday. Sanchez won the Arlington Sprint on Aug. 25, his first stakes win, and notched an out-of-town stakes win at Prairie Meadows last weekend.

Love Handles ($15.80), the fourth choice in a five-horse field was timed in 1:41.32 for 1 1/16 miles. Honour Colony held third, followed by Rich in Spirit and Lady Lionel.

* There are four dark days this racing week in Chicago, with the action shifting from Arlington to Hawthorne on Friday.