Oeuvre Leads Field in Third Chance Handicap


STICKNEY, IL – The Illinois-bred stakes season kicks off on Sunday at Hawthorne with the running of the Third Chance Handicap. The $75,000 guaranteed event for state-bred fillies and mares will be contested at six furlongs on the main track and go as race six on the Sunday Hawthorne card. A field of seven is entered for the Third Chance.

The 128 lbs. high weight in the Third Chance is Oeuvre for owner Richard Perkins and trainer Chris Block. The graded stakes placed five-year-old mare has won 15 of 27 starts on her career for over $800,000 in lifetime earnings. She has never finished worse than second in ten Hawthorne starts, winning eight of those races. A mare that has run at all distances on all surfaces, Oeuvre was the winner of this event last summer at Hawthorne. Oeuvre opened her 2024 campaign with a victory at the Fair Grounds in the Nelson J. Menard Memorial Stakes in a race that was taken off the turf. She followed that race with a second-place effort on the grass in the Mardi Gras Stakes on February 13. She was beaten less than two lengths while finishing fourth in the Tom Benson Memorial Stakes before encountering a troubled trip in the Grade 3 Giant’s Causeway at Keeneland in her most recent start. Orlando Mojica rode Oeuvre to victory in last year’s Third Chance and gets the call on the 6-5 morning line favorite in this year’s edition.

The pace threat in the Third Chance looks to come from Purr Sea for trainer Michele Boyce. Owned by S.D. Brille, Limited Partnership, Purr Sea surpassed $200,000 in career earnings in her most recent start, an upper-level allowance race at Turfway. As a two-year-old, Purr Sea was twice able to get the best of Oeuvre in stakes events, defeating her in the 2021 Showtime Deb Stakes and Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante. Purr Sea spent the majority of 2022 running in the allowance ranks before finishing third to Oeuvre in the Powerless Stakes to close out her three-year-old season. Last year Purr Sea raced only once, but she looks to be returning to form off her recent allowance win. Julio Felix was aboard for that Turfway score and rides again for the 4-1 second choice who carries 121 lbs.

Michele Boyce also has Journeyist in the Third Chance for owner S.D. Brille, Limited partnership. With all five career wins at Hawthorne, Journeyist has shown versatility throughout her career, winning while sprinting as well as around two turns and running well on turf. She makes her first start of 2024 after a 2023 campaign that saw Journeyist win three times, including a score around two turns in the Illinois-bred Peach of It Handicap in her final start of the season. Journeyist enters the Third Chance on a three-race win streak under jockey Luis Colon as Colon rides the 6-1 co-third choice.

Trainer Patti Miller sends out White Lies for owner Jessamyn Glander as the seven-year-old mare makes her second start of the year. With five victories and 11 runner-up efforts from 36 career starts, White Lies has earned over $225,000 in her career. Another that has shown versatility throughout her career, White Lies finished third in last year’s Third Chance. She won a tough optional claiming allowance race last August and wheeled back just two weeks after that win for a near miss when she was beaten by a head to Journeyist in the Peach of It Handicap. Victor Santiago rides the 6-1 co-third choice.

A horse that defeated White Lies last out and makes her first stakes start is Commissioner Gulch for owner Charles Ritter and his ownership partner, trainer Scott Becker. After breaking her maiden last summer at Hawthorne, Commissioner Gulch won a pair of allowance races at Fanduel Racing last fall before a brief break at the end of 2023. She returned on April 14 and looked strong in taking the state-bred optional claiming allowance test by five-lengths for jockey Alex Bendezu. Bendezu returns to ride Commissioner Gulch as she is 8-1.

Go Madi Go is another looking for her first stakes score for owner Kenneth Hutchens and trainer Lori Plasters. After being disqualified from a victory at Fanduel Racing last May, Go Madi Go strung together five consecutive victories last summer into the fall. She was a hard luck second place finisher in the final start of 2023 but has worked well toward her return. Cory Orm has ridden Go Madi Go in her last four starts and gets the call once again.

Rainy Mountain rounds out the field of seven for the Third Chance for owner/trainer Frank Kirby. The lightly raced six-year-old mare put together a solid 2023 season, finishing in the top three in all five of her starts. She posted a pair of allowance victories while sprinting last summer at Hawthorne before getting a break following her June 14 win. She returned off the ten-month rest in an April 14 allowance race at Hawthorne and has worked well leading into the Third Chance. Alexis Centeno rides Rainy Mountain on Sunday.