Chicago Barn to Wire


Arlington Park Barn Notes

Contact: Graham Ross (847) 385-7500 ext. 7319


Trainer Chris Block won three races to headline the day during last summer's inaugural Prairie State at Arlington, and when the six stakes races restricted to Illinois-breds are contested again next Saturday, Block could find himself the star of the show once again.

With six horses nominated to five of the stakes races to be run June 23, Block is holding a strong hand. In the $75,000 White Oak Handicap for 3-year-olds and upward at six furlongs, Block has nominated defending champion Davey's Cutlass, owned by Imagine Stable; as well as Fortino, Inc.'s It's All Personal.

Block has a second defending champion, Team Block's Ioya Two, nominated to the second running of the $75,000 Lincoln Heritage Handicap, a mile and a sixteenth affair for fillies and mares that will be run at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf.

The other Prairie State Festival horses nominated by Block this year are Team Block's Suprise Me Again in the $75,000 Purple Violet Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at one mile; Richard Otto Stables, Inc.'s Thomas Crown in the $75,000 Springfield Stakes, for 3-year-olds at one mile; and Team Block & Lin Grisham's Reno Rumble in the $75,000 Cardinal Handicap, for 3-year-olds and upward at one mile and a sixteenth on the grass.

The only Prairie State Festival race without a Block nominee is the $75,000 Isaac Murphy Handicap for fillies and mares, 3-years-old and upward at six furlongs.

"I'm trying to get them all to come around in time," said Block of the upcoming Prairie State Festival. "Ioya Two won it last year off a long layoff, so she should be all right. Reno Rumble may not have gotten as much out of his last race as I'd have liked, and Davey's Cutlass was laid up with chips in both knees so he's something of an unknown. Ideally, I'd have liked to have another race underneath him.

"But I think all of them will run well," Block said, "so we'll take our chances and see what happens."

As for Block's recollections of last year's Prairie State Festival, he said: "That day was pretty special. There are not many opportunities like that - when it all comes to fruition. It's pretty rewarding when something like that happens."


Veteran Arlington trainer Gene Cilio has also nominated to five of the six Prairie State Festival races, with Crown's Way, J. Marovich, LLC & Founders Group's Sandy's Way and Crown's Way Farm, P. Cappas, Founders Group et al's Kali's Smile both nominated to the Isaac Murphy Handicap.

Cilio has also nominated Crown's Way Farm's, P. Cappas, Founders Group, et al's Out Of My Way to the White Oak Handicap; Joseph Marovich, LLC & Crown's Way Farm's Shemya to the Purple Violet Stakes; R'n R Breeders Act Of War to the Springfield Stakes; and W. Veach, W. Mackie & Crown's Way Farm's Not Happening in the Cardinal Handicap

Although Cilio has no nominee in the Lincoln Heritage, Cilio noted: "Soccory would have been 8-5 in there, but she's out for the year. We had to have surgery done on her to remove two chips from her ankle.

"We'll be competitive in the races we run in," Cilio said of Prairie State Festival Day. "I probably won't run Not Happening (in the Cardinal.) That horse I used to have, Just Like Jimmy (now trained by Dallas Stewart) will be tough in there and my horse hasn't started yet this year."


Richard W. Pletan's Bully Boy worked five-eighths in a minute flat and galloped out in 1:13, and J. B. Stable, Inc.'s Crack The Vault got five-eighths in 1:01 3/5 handily on June 16. Both are Springfield Stakes nominees.

Triple B-E Stable's Bugsy Mae went five-eighths in 1:03, Larry Sterling up; Patrick Mitchell Racing Stable, Ltd.'s Erin G went five furlongs in 1:01 4/5 in company; and Emerald Ridge Farm's Something Wicked went six furlongs in 1:15 4/5, Zoe Cadman up in advance of possible starts in the Lincoln Heritage Handicap.

Mrs. & Michael P. Brickman's Star Advantage went a half in :48 2/5 and galloped out five-eighths in 1:02 with Ray Sibille; and Samuel Henry, Dominic Marsella and Emerald Ridge Farm's Manitowish went six furlongs in 1:14 with Mark Guidry up. Guidry scored his 4,000th win on Manitowish last July 1. Both are White Oak Handicap nominees.

Mrs. & Michael Brickman's Smilin' Slew went five furlongs in 1:01 with Ray Sibille up as a Cardinal Handicap nominee; and R.T.M. Racing, Ltd.'s Faccia Bella did the same distance under Danny Miller as a nominee to both the Isaac Murphy and Lincoln Heritage handicaps.


Ross Mahoney, a Mt. Prospect resident at Arlington Park Friday to celebrate his 101st birthday with a race named in his honor, celebrated by cashing a win ticket worth $23 while posing with winning jockey Ray Sibille for post-race ceremonies.

Three separate generations of the Mahoney family were present to help him celebrate, including sons Ray and Bill, daughters Ann and Rosilind, and grandchildren Gail and Dave.

Mahoney, who scored the second hole-in-one of a long golfing career when he was 91 years old, was asked if he would be returning to Arlington for Father's Day on Sunday.

"It could be. I might just do that," Mahoney said. "I feel lucky here."


Steve Sexton, executive vice president of Arlington Park, will present the trophy to the winner of today's 13th running of the Grade III Chicago Breeders' Cup Handicap.

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