Trainer Chris Block will be going for the all-time stakes win record at Arlington on Saturday when he sends out Joyful Night in the Isaac Murphy Memorial Handicap, and Wile E Peyote in the Addison Cammack Memorial Handicap.
The first of his two opportunities will come in the fourth race on the card, the $75,000 Isaac Murphy Handicap which will be run at six furlongs on the synthetic main track and drew a field of 6 fillies and mares.
Chris Block will send out Joyful Night who will be making her stakes debut Saturday.
Owned by Rich Ege and Team Block, she is coming off a state-bred allowance victory following up her eleven length maiden breaking score in May at Arlington.
The now 4-year-old daughter of Midnight Lute will be making only her fifth career start, after some minor issues early on,
“We thought she wouldn’t be able to hold up very well if we pushed her early on with her confirmation,” Block explained. “We gave her plenty of time to grow and develop. There were no real injuries with her, we just felt like the best chance she had to be successful was for us to just take our time with her and it’s worked out well so far.”
Joyful Night is looking for her first stakes victory, and will be ridden by Edgar Perez. She will break from post two in Saturdays Isaac Murphy Handicap.
Rounding out the field in the Isaac Murphy will be Itsagimme’s Girl (Chris Emigh- post 1), Game Time Decision (Ty Kennedy- post 3), Brittney On Blades (Jermaine Bridgmohan- post 4), Jean Elizabeth (Jose Valdivia Jr- post 5), and Puntsville (Carlos Marquez Jr. – post 6).
Chris Block will have his next opportunity at breaking the record the following race in the Addison Cammack Memorial Handicap. The Cammack will be run at six furlongs on the synthetic main track and drew a field of six colts and geldings.
Owned by Timothy J. Keeley, Wile E Peyote is coming off a victory in a state-bred allowance race last out where he sat at the back of the pack early and stormed home for a narrow victory.
“He’s been a completely different horse this year,” Block said. “Last year he showed us some flashes of ability, but we knew he would get better as he got older. We gave him a little break over the winter after his stay in New Orleans at Fair Grounds. He’s come back more mature both physically and mentally. His last race was good and I’m hoping he can use that last race to step forward here,” he explained.
“Me and my owners, this is what we look forward to,” Block mentioned. “You breed them here in Illinois and you get to showcase them on these days and get them to all run against each other and see whose best.”
Wile E Peyote will be ridden by Carlos Marquez Jr. and will break from post 2.
Rounding out the field is Recount (Edgar Perez, post 1), Richiesinthehouse (Jose Valdivia Jr.- post 3), Bulldog of Bergen (Ty Kennedy- post 4), Northern Fire (Mitchell Murill- post 5), and Whats Up Dude (Jose Lopez- post 6).
Chris Block got his first victory as a trainer in 1990, and has been a force to be reckoned with at Arlington ever since. To break the all-time stakes record at Arlington, for Block, will be a special day.
“It means a great deal to me.” Block said Friday afternoon. “Arlington is home for me and to do that is really special for me and my whole crew including all of the owners who have supported me my whole career here.”
Chris Block owns 44 stakes victories at the Chicagoland oval, equal to current record holder and National Racing Hall of Fame conditioner Harry Trotsek, who trained at Arlington from 1950-87,
“Right now I’m tied with a true legend, and to surpass it will be pretty humbling to say the least,” Block explained. “I’m just honored that I’ve made it this far. I didn’t even know I was close until our announcer John Dooley brought it up last year and I was kind of surprised. It’s going to be really special and I hope I can get it done Saturday.”
The Isaac Murphy Memorial Handicap and Addison Cammack Memorial Handicap are the two features on the nine race Saturday card at Arlington. First post Saturday is at 1:25PM CDT.