Hotshot Anna brought the heat in Saturday's Grade III $100,000 Chicago Handicap when the 4-year-old daughter of Trappe Shot broke the seven-furlong track record over the all-weather surface Arlington International Racecourse.
Owned and trained by Hugh Robertson, Hotshot Anna was guided by jockey Harry Hernandez and sat just off of Rags Racing Stable's Ingrid Mason-trained Marquee Miss who set opening fractions of 22.80 and 45.08. Coming around the far turn the front-runner began to give way and Hotshot Anna did not need much asking to assert herself to the front. Coming down the top of the stretch Hotshot Anna extended her lead, drawing off to win by 5¾ lengths in a record time of 1:20.93. Al Moorhouse and trainer James Gulick's Princess La Quinta had a stalking trip to finish second by three-quarters of a length over post-time favorite Union Strike who closed from well back late to complete the trifecta for owner and trainer Mick Ruis.
It was the first graded stakes victory for Hernandez, who was aboard Hotshot Anna for the first time.
“I'm so proud right now,” said Hernandez. “Wow, she's just a great filly. I just want to thank Hugh for giving me the opportunity, especially having confidence in me since I just got here (to Arlington this season). I wanted to be close because I thought it was a better idea and it's what Hugh told me to do, so I've got to go with the instructions.”
For Robertson it was his first graded stakes victory since taking Hawthorne Race Course's Grade III National Jockey Club Handicap with Three Hour Nap in 2006.
“She trained very well on the Polytrack,” said Robertson. “I thought she would run well, but I didn't think she'd run quite that well. We named this filly after my oldest granddaughter. She's really fast too.”
Princess La Quinta was chasing her third consecutive victory. Last time out, she gave trainer and co-owner James Gulick his first graded stakes win when capturing the Grade III Arlington Matron.
“Princess La Quinta broke nice for me and put me in a lovely position,” said jockey Sophie Doyle. “Around the turn I could see [One Liz] starting to back up a little bit so that gave me better run. Coming around the quarter pole, Harry [Hernandez] had to look around and saw that I was chasing them. Once he turned, his filly just took off. Princess La Quinta felt fantastic. She moved really well and she's a really nice and talented filly. She has a great stride to her and she's very game. Even though the winner was gone, she still dug in to hold on for second.”
Third-place finisher Union Strike was racing for the first time since January when she was seventh in Santa Anita's Grade II La Canada Stakes.
“She's been on the bench for a while,” jockey Corey Nakatani said. “She didn't run bad considering the track was playing to speed all day.”
The Chicago Handicap was Hotshot Anna's fifth career win in 16 starts. While this was her first victory at the graded stakes level, she previously scored a victory in last year's Northbound Pride Oaks over the turf at Canterbury Park. The winner's purse of $55,200 enhanced Hotshot Anna's career earnings to $223,640.
Hotshot Anna returned $11.60, $6.00 and $3.80 while Princess La Quinta brought back $4.60 and $3.00. Union Strike paid $3.80.
Hotshot Anna gave sire Trappe Shot his first graded stakes winner of 2018. She is out of the Holy Bull mare Avalos who produced seven other foals, six of which have raced and are winners. She was a $20,000 purchase from breeder and consigner Paul Tackett and Keeneland's 2015 September Yearling Sale.
Completing the order of finish were One Liz, Kyllachy Queen (IRE), Babybluesbdancing, Natural Wonder, Oh So Terrible, Marquee Miss, Full of Zip, Miss Nancy, Starlight Express and Mines and Magic.
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