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Five 2011 Illinois Champions Headline 2012 Prairie State Fest Noms
Seventy-seven horses, including five 2011 Illinois divisional champions, have been nominated to the six stakes races that comprise the June 16 Prairie State Festival at Arlington Park. There are four horses that have been cross-nominated to multiple stakes races.
The six $125,000 races that make up the Prairie State Festival 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
The five 2011 divisional champions in year-end balloting who have been nominated to the 2012 Prairie State Festival are Shelbi Catalano's Class Break, champion 2-year-old filly; Ron Magers, Roe Conn, Robert Marccochio & Russell Scurto's Third Chance, champion in both the 3-year-old filly and sprint filly or mare divisions; Team Block's Suntracer, winner in both the 3-year-old male and turf male divisions; Timothy Keeley's Peyote Patty, champion older filly or mare; and Dana Waier Thoroughbreds' River Bear, champion sprint male.
Never off the board in five starts as a 2-year-old, Class Break won both the $125,000 Showtime Deb Stakes and the $100,000 Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante at Hawthorne Race Course last autumn and heads the list of 15 fillies nominated to the Purple Violet Stakes. In her lone start this season, the daughter of Sunday Break finished off the board in the $125,000 Pretty Jenny Stakes at Hawthorne in April.
Others of note nominated to the Purple Violet include Lamont Nienast's Dolly Peach, upset winner of the Pretty Jenny; and Doubledown Stables' Point Count, runner-up to Dolly Peach in both the Pretty Jenny at Hawthorne and in a second-level allowance race here earlier this month.
Dual champion Third Chance, who heads the dozen distaffers nominated for the Isaac Murphy, has been a powerhouse of late in state-bred competition winning last fall's $125,000 Powerless Stakes and this spring's $125,000 Governor's Lady at Hawthorne for trainer Jimmy DiVito. The 4-year-old Kafwain filly is a four-time winner over Arlington's Polytrack surface.
Also nominated to the Isaac Murphy are Gary & Beth Leverton's defending champion Wild Hope and stakes winners Last Call Racing Partnership's Our Lady in Red, who took last year's Purple Violet and Pretty Jenny stakes; and Elias Lubbat's Sweet Lemon Chello, victress in the 2009 Illinois Debutante at Hawthorne.
The Chris Block-trained Suntracer, who has met with much success in open company including a win in last year's $75,000 Woodchopper Stakes at the Fair Grounds and runner-up in both the Grade II American Derby and the Grade III Hawthorne Derby, is prominent among the 17 state-breds nominated to the Black Tie Affair, a race that has been dominated in recent years by his connections, who have accounted for six victories in this race since the year 2000.
Other stakes winners nominated to the Black Tie Affair include Team Block's Amazing Results, winner of the Grade III Robert F. Carey Memorial at Hawthorne in 2010; Russell L. Reineman Stable's Color Me Blue, who captured this year's $75,000 Fifth Season at Oaklawn; Kenneth Hutchens' Denham, winner of the $100,000 Milwaukee Avenue at Hawthorne in 2011; and Robert & Kelly Dobbs and Carson Springs Farm's defending champion Tazz.
Peyote Patty, last year's Lincoln Heritage winner and also trained by Block, will have 2010 race winner Two Bucks To Show's Cumulonimble to contend with as both are featured among the 15 fillies and mares nominated to this year's edition.
Also of note in the Lincoln Heritage are Grade II stakes winner Dundalk 5's Dundalk Dust; the cross-nominated Our Lady in Red; and Slapshot Racing's multiple Illinois stakes winner Seans Silverdancer.
White Oak runner-up last year and winner of that race in 2009, the Leroy Hellman-trained River Bear heads the 10 sprinters nominated to this year's renewal.
Other stakes winners nominated to the White Oak include S. D. Brilie's Big Looie, who took the $125,000 Buck's Boy Handicap at Hawthorne last fall; Carson Springs Farm, Letto Thoroughbreds & Phillip Cooper's Four Left Feet, winner of the 2011 $125,000 Lightning Jet at Hawthorne; and B Jock's Twelve Hundred winner of the $60,000 Prairie Juvenile Mile in Iowa last summer.
Twelve Hundred is also nominated to the Springfield Stakes as are state-bred stakes winners Virginia H. Tarra's Real Power, Richard Glander's Report Card and Ed Fortino's Sweet Luca.
Entries will be drawn for the six state-bred stakes races as well as the $65,000 King's Command for open company sprinters on Wednesday, June 13.