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Amazing Results, Fort Prado Headline Prairie State Festival
Team Block's Fort Prado, the 2006 Illinois Horse of the Year, and his stablemate Amazing Results, the reigning Illinois Horse of the Year, are the star attractions among the 53 horses who passed the entry box for the six $100,000-added stakes races that comprise the 10th annual Prairie State Festival to be held Saturday, June 20, at Arlington Park.
The six races that make up the showcase for state-breds are:
- The Purple Violet Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on Polytrack
- The Springfield Stakes for 3-year-olds at one mile on Polytrack
- The Isaac Murphy Handicap for fillies & mares, 3-year-olds & upward at six furlongs on Polytrack
- The White Oak Handicap for 3-year-olds & upward at six furlongs on Polytrack
- The Lincoln Heritage Handicap for fillies & mares 3-year-olds & upward at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf
- The Black Tie Affair Handicap for 3-year-olds & upward at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf
Although racing as separate betting interests, both Fort Prado and Amazing Results have been entered in the Black Tie Affair, a race which the former won three consecutive years from 2005-2007 while finishing second to Gentleman Chester in last year's renewal. Though winless the last two seasons, the veteran performer has remained competitive in stakes competition and the Chris Block-trained 8-year-old has more than $1.1 million in career earnings. Amazing Results has also been entered in the White Oak Handicap, where he will be one of the likely favorites.
Prominent among Fort Prado's competition in the Black Tie Affair is defending champion Nick Mamatas & John Kerber's Gentleman Chester, slated to be ridden by two-time Kentucky Derby winning jockey Calvin Borel who will be on hand to ride in three of the six stakes races Saturday.
In addition to the aforementioned Amazing Results, the White Oak Handicap has attracted defending champion Mighty Rule, who now races in the colors of Scarlet Stable, as well as two-time White Oak hero S. D. Brilie Ltd. Partnership's High Expectations, who captured the 2006 and 2007 renewals.
Others of note in the White Oak include Homewrecker Racing Stable's Wildeydsouthernboy, winner of the $53,600 Zen Stakes on May 24 and Team Block's Shrewd Operator, returning from two years on the sidelines.
Nancy Vanier & Cartwright Thoroughbreds' Love Handles is the morning line choice in the Lincoln Heritage Handicap. The 6-year-old Sahm mare finished eighth in the $57,300 Reluctant Guest Stakes in her last start, which was her first outing since November of last year. The Brian Williamson trainee has a pair of wins over the Arlington grass including the $100,000 Ada L. Rice Illinois Owners Stakes in 2007.
Also prominent in the Lincoln Heritage are Virginia Tarra Trust's Apple Martini, Illinois Champion 3-Year-Old Filly of 2008, and Steve Holland & Crown's Way Farm's You Dancing Devil, a five-time victress over the Arlington turf including a score in the 2008 Nancy A. Vanier Illinois Owners Stakes.
The Isaac Murphy Handicap features a return of its 1-2 finishers from a year ago - Richard Rudolph & Michael Vranich's Magnetic Miss and Dini, Strauman & Bara's Taylor Madison. The former, a Spanky Broussard-trained daughter of Artax, beat state-bred rivals in the $53,100 Your Ladyship Stakes last out May 24. The latter, trained by Mike Dini, scored in the open $53,300 Nicole's Dream Stakes on June 6.
Also of note in the Isaac Murphy is Carson Springs Farm, Arbaway Farm & Ken Meeker's Nicks, a multiple winner in state-bred stakes competition and a three-time victor over Arlington's Polytrack surface.
S. D. Brilie Ltd. Partnership's Pathway gets the morning-line nod in the Purple Violet. The Christine Janks-trained daughter of Stroll carries a three-race win skein into the Purple Violet including a tally in open company over Arlington's turf course in May.
Others to keep an eye on in the Purple Violet include Dundalk 5 LLC's Stormy April, runner-up to the likely favorite in a state-bred allowance race last time out and WRC Thoroughbreds Inc.'s Bow Tie Pasta, winner of the $98,000 Pretty Jenny Stakes at Hawthorne Race Course.
Darrell & Sadie Brommer & Team Block's Gamblers Reward is listed as the morning line choice in the Springfield. The Chris Block-trained son of Smart Strike broke his maiden in a two-turn turf race in his most recent start.
His main competition could come from Russell L. Reineman Stable Inc.'s Agnostic, winner of the $90,000 Land of Lincoln Stakes at Hawthorne in April and more recently a troubled fifth in a second-level state-bred allowance race here.