News - Videos - Blogs

Illinois Horse of the Year Rolling Sea Headlines Prairie State Festival Noms

Churchill Downs Communications | 06/13/2008 #

Eighty-two different horses, including Millenium Farm’s Rolling Sea, reigning Illinois Horse of the Year, have been nominated to the six stakes races that comprise the June 21 Prairie State Festival. There are five horses that have been cross-nominated to multiple stakes races including one horse that was tri-nominated. Each of this year’s Prairie State Festival races have been increased in value by $25,000, bringing the purse of each race to $100,000 in added money.

The six races that make up the Prairie State Festival are:

  • The Purple Violet Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on Polytrack
  • 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

    Three of last year’s divisional champions in year-end balloting have been nominated to the 2007 Prairie State Festival. In addition to Rolling Sea, champion older filly or mare as well as Horse of the Year, they include Team Block’s Fort Prado, champion older male and champion turf male in 2007 as well as Horse of the Year in 2006, and Richard Rudolph & Michael Vranich’s Magnetic Miss, last year’s champion 3-year-old filly.

  • Rolling Sea, who heads the 21 fillies and mares nominated to the Lincoln Heritage, was named Illinois Horse of the Year last year off a six-win campaign that included victories in the Grade II Distaff Handicap at Pimlico and Grade II Chilukki Stakes at Churchill Downs. In her 2008 debut, the Steve Asmussen charge showed a dislike for Polytrack and finished last of six in the $52,400 Your Ladyship Stakes on June 1.

    Others nominated to the Lincoln Heritage include defending champion Triple C Thoroughbreds’ Royal Leah and multiple state-bred stakes winner Letto Thoroughbreds, Arbaway Farm & Carson Springs farm’s Stop a Train.

    Fort Prado is nominated to the Black Tie Affair Handicap in search of an unprecedented fourth straight victory in the turf test and fifth Prairie State Festival tally. Trained by the Festival’s all-time leading conditioner Chris Block, the 7-year-old son of El Prado is winless in five starts this year in open company but with the exception of his career debut in the fall of 2003, he has never lost when facing state-bred rivals.

    The list of Black Tie Affair nominations also includes stakes winners Team Block & W. S. Farish’s Corrupt and 2007 Springfield Stakes victor Nick Manatas & John Kerber’s Gentleman Chester.

    Magnetic Miss, winner of last year’s $84,800 Purple Violet Stakes, heads the list of 10 fillies and mares nominated to the Isaac Murphy Handicap. The Spanky Broussard-trained daughter of Artax won the Your Ladyship Stakes over this oval on June 1 in a prep for the Isaac Murphy.

    Among the others nominated for the Isaac Murphy are Bob & Nancy Bartels’ Bluesbdancing, the 2006 Isaac Murphy heroine; defending champion Arbaway Farm & Carson Springs Farm’s Modjadji; multiple stakes winner Pretty Jenny, who also races for Arbaway Farm & Carson Springs Farm; downstate stakes winner Button Down Racing’s Sea Button; and Team Block’s Secret Kin, winner of the $100,000 Governor’s Lady Handicap at Hawthorne; multiple stakes winner Dini, Strauman & Bara’s Taylor Madison.

    Defending champion S. D. Brilie Ltd. Partnership’s High Expectations, winner of the $100,000 Chicagoland Handicap in April, is prominent among the nine older runners nominated to the White Oak Handicap.

    Other nominees to the White Oak include: Asiel Stable’s Caruso, the 2006 Illinois champion 2-year-old; Maggi Moss’s Classic R. J., winner of this year’s $100,000 Land of Lincoln Stakes against state-bred sophomores at Hawthorne; and Arbaway Farm, Carson Springs Farm & David Campbell’s Mighty Rule, hero of last fall’s $100,000 Lightning Jet Handicap.

    Maximum Six LLC’s Silver Stairs, winner of back-to-back stakes races at Hawthorne in the spring, heads the list of 14 sophomore fillies nominated to the Purple Violet Stakes.

    The cross-nominated Classic R. J. and multiple open company stakes winner Team Block’s Amazing Results are prominent among the 17 3-year-olds nominated to the Springfield Stakes.