06/25/2016 7:01PM

Sarah Sis leads all the way in Chicago Handicap

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Sarah Sis leads all the way en route to winning the Chicago Handicap on Saturday at Arlington Park.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – The good Sarah Sis showed up Saturday at Arlington, leading all way as the 9-5-favorite in the Grade 3, $100,000 Chicago Handicap.

It was a far cry from Sarah Sis’s most recent race, when she finished eighth, beaten 18 lengths in the Grade 1 Humana Distaff on May 7 at Churchill. In her other start there, Sarah Sis was eased in the 2015 Kentucky Oaks, and it might just have been a case of a horse who really dislikes the Churchill surface. Sarah Sis also ran far below form at Charles Town last summer, but trainer Ingrid Mason said the filly got an allergic reaction after shipping there.

This version of Sarah Sis, the 121-pound starting high-weight, essentially had the Chicago Handicap sewn up after a quarter-mile, which she passed, on the lead, in a tepid 23.55. The half-mile split in the seven-furlong Chicago was slow, too, 46.92, and Sarah Sis turned away pace-pressing Kathballu to win by one length.

“She’s a nice mare,” winning rider Jose Valdivia Jr said. “She doesn’t get rank under pressure. She rates herself. My main concern was just to get her out of the gate, and she’ll take care of the rest.”

Sarah Sis was timed in 1:23.16 and paid $5.60. Kathballu finished 1 1/2 lengths in front of You Bought Her, who had 1 3/4 in front of Mink’s Aprise. The third and fourth home had little chance trying to close into such a slow pace.

“After a 23 quarter it was a two-horse race,” said Chris Emigh, who rode Kathballu. “I thought I could catch her. My horse was trying so hard.”

Sarah Sis is by Sharp Humor and out of the Gilded Time mare Emerald Gal. Bred in Kentucky by Catherine Rene White and owned by Rags Racing Stable, she was purchased for just $20,000 as a 2-year-old and now has earned $664,900 while compiling a record of 18-7-4-0.

“We’d like to get her a Grade 1 this year,” Mason said.

Sarah Sis was a decent fourth in the Grade 1 Ballerina last summer at Saratoga, and will make her next start in that race again in August.