ARCADIA, CA – Pam and Martin Wygod homebred Into Chocolate tipped out at the 1/8 pole and slipped by the front-runners late to win Friday’s $100,000 Chillingworth Stakes (G3) at Santa Anita Park.
Into Chocolate broke from post 3 under Umberto Rispoli at 8/1 odds and settled into a stalking position, racing inside of two rivals while remaining within striking distance of the lead.
The 3/5 favorite Qahira went to the front right from the start but soon came under fire from Amuse, the 2/1 second choice who ran side-by-side with the bettors’ choice through opening fractions of :22.18 and :44.94.
Still tracking as she straightened for home, Into Chocolate slid out to run three-wide in the lane and slowly nibbled away at the pacesetters.
Taking over in the shadow of the wire, the Clifford Sise Jr. trainee pulled ahead to win by 3/4 of a length while completing the 6 1/2-furlong fast dirt sprint in 1:15.86.
“I didn’t know much about her, but Mr. Sise said she was doing really good and she should run a lot better than she did at Del Mar,” said Rispoli, who was aboard for the first time. “It looked like they were going pretty fast in front and my filly was very professional.
Qahira narrowly held onto second by a neck over Amuse, while Hang a Star was just a 1/2-length behind them in fourth.
A well-beaten Mucho Amor completed the order of finish.
Message and Unique Factor scratched.
Into Chocolate’s win was her first at the stakes level and improved her overall record to 11-4-2-2 with $216,031 earned. The 4-year-old Into Mischief filly rebounded from a seventh-place finish in the Rancho Bernardo Handicap (G3), her first start back with Sise Jr. after winning an optional claiming event at Belmont Park in July and finishing second in February’s Minaret Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.
“We threw her last race at Del Mar out,” said Sise Jr. “She came out of that race (at Belmont Park) body sore, and then her blood count was off. She’s been feeling really good here since we got back and I could tell saddling her today that she was doing good and she was ready. Those were some nice fillies and it’s always good to win.”
Into Chocolate returned $19.60 to win, $4.80 to place, and $2.80 to show. Qahira brought back $2.60 to place and $2.10 to show, while Amuse paid $2.10 to show.