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Nates Mineshaft Tops Illinois Owners Stakes
Illinois-owned horses are featured Saturday in the $65,000 Illinois Owners Stakes Charles Springer Memorial with Windy Hill Farm’s Nates Mineshaft likely the horse to beat. The 6-year-old Mineshaft ridgling should relish the drop to restricted company after finishing 12th against some of the best turf horses in the world in Arlington Million XXXI. In his two starts prior to the Million, the Anne Smith trainee won a stakes-quality allowance race on the turf and ran a good second in a Polytrack allowance race. E. T. Baird has the mount.
Midwest Thoroughbreds’ The Pizza Man, the Illinois champion 3-year-old male of 2012, should figure prominently here. The Tom Amoss-trained son of English Channel returns to action after finishing third behind Dark Cove and Suntracer in the Grade III Stars and Stripes at a mile and a half over this course. The turn back in distance should help the 4-year-old who boasts two stakes victories at a mile and a sixteenth as well as a good second in the state-bred Black Tie Affair here earlier this summer. James Graham will ride.
Veteran performer Tazz, who races for Carson Springs Farm of trainer Christine Janks, seeks his second straight win here after wiring his rivals in a Sept. 2 allowance race. The 7-year-old Roar of the Tiger gelding won this race in 2011 and has six wins over the Arlington turf in his career. Rosemary Homeister Jr. has a return call aboard Tazz for the Illinois Owners Stakes.
Andrews T and S Racing’s Mr. Vegas returns to familiar ground after running seventh in the state-bred restricted West Point Stakes at Saratoga last month. In his only other start of 2013, the Richie Scherer-trained 6-year-old finished third to Nates Mineshaft on July 27. Last year, the son of Freud ran second after setting the pace in the $65,000 Sea o’Erin here. Kent Desormeaux will be aboard.
Ed Fortino’s Sweet Luca will be making only his second start on turf in the Illinois Owners Stakes. The Chris Block-trained son of Candy Ride won the $100,000 Addison Cammack Stakes when sprinting over the Arlington Polytrack in June. Eduardo Perez rides.
Others in the Illinois Owners Stakes are: Jim Tafel’s All Stormy (Eddie Castro); Charles Sigrist and Del Sol Farm’s Chas the Man (Francisco Torres); and Wendell Yates and Tim Leary’s Warbird (Channing Hill).