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Contact: David Zenner
A STERLING PRAIRIE STATE FESTIVAL PERFORMANCE FOR JOCKEY
Trainer Janks Also Earns Pair of Victories in State-Bred Showcase
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (June 24, 2006) -- Jockey Larry Sterling Jr. was the one of the human stars of the day at the seventh annual Prairie State Festival, Arlington Park’s showcase for Illinois-bred Thoroughbreds. The veteran local rider won two of the day’s six stakes events, both on horses he was not originally slated to ride.
Sterling, 36, won the $86,350 Springfield Stakes aboard Tally Up, subbing in that spot for the injured Chris Emigh, who was hurt in a spill here on Wednesday. Two races later, he scored in the $87,900 Lincoln Heritage Handicap with Ms. Lydonia, a pick-up mount for trainer Christine Janks who had originally named Francisco Torres to ride. Torres rode Modjadji, Janks’ other horse in the race.
Nancy Vanier & Cartwright Thoroughbred V LLC’s Tally Up rallied three wide into the stretch, took the lead with more than a furlong left to run and held off 2-1 favorite Barely Union Scale to win the Springfield Stakes by a half-length. The Brian Williamson-trained son of Service Stripe got the mile in 1:36.59.
“It was a good stalking trip,” said Sterling. “Everything went perfectly. He broke good. He lay just where I wanted him to lay. He kicked on when I needed him to. It was pretty simple.”
Tally Up paid $10.40, $5 and $3.80. Barely Union Scale returned $3.80 and $2.60. Wildwood Hat Trick paid $3.20.
The Estate of William Lydon & Carson Spring Farm’s Ms. Lydonia utilized a ground-saving trip en route to a neck victory in the Lincoln Heritage. The daughter of Labeeb covered the mile and a sixteenth over firm turf in 1:42.99. Coupled in the wagering with Modjadji, who finished third in the 11-horse field, the Janks-trained entry returned $5.80, $3.20 and $3.80 (prices OK).
“She broke from the one hole and stayed on the fence the whole way,” said the typically understated Sterling. “She got out at the top of the lane and it was all over from there.”
You Dancing Devil rallied from mid-pack to run second and paid $4.40 and $3.60.
For the second year in year in a row, Janks’ runners captured multiple races on the Prairie State Festival card. In addition to winning the Lincoln Heritage, the longtime conditioner saddled High Expectations to take the $85,700 White Oak Handicap by a length under a gutsy and well-timed ride by Francisco Torres, getting the six furlongs in a brisk 1:08.89.
“They got away from him early but that was because they were going pretty quick up front,” Torres said. “He’s a hard knocker. I called on him at the half-mile pole and he gave me a response. At the top of the lane I was looking for a place to go without getting him stopped. (The rail) was a shot we had to take. It was either that or go way wide, and on a day like today and with these kind of horses, you have to take every advantage you can.”
High Expectations, who also won the 2005 Springfield Stakes, was the second choice in the betting and paid $6.60, $4.20 and $3.
Iron Rouge finished second in the 9-horse field and returned $11.80 and $6.80. It was another neck back to Just See James, who paid $5.60.
Rolling Sea, a recent purchase by Millennium Farm, upset heavily favored Rich Fantasy and reigning Illinois Horse of the Year Original Spin in the $87,700 Purple Violet Stakes. The Steve Asmussen-trained daughter of Sefapiano covered the mile over a fast track in 1:36.41.
“She broke real nice,” said winning jockey Robby Albarado. “We got a great position up the backside. She was content on being close to the lead. We put the lead horse away at the 3/8 pole and turning for home, I asked her and she kicked on nice. I knew Rich Fantasy would be coming and she was. She’s a nice filly, too.”
Rich Fantasy, the 13-10 favorite, rallied to run second. It was another length back to Unreal Rocket, who finished third in the 12-horse field of 3-year-old fillies. Original Spin ran sixth.
Rolling Sea paid $18.60, $6 and $4.80. Rich Fantasy paid $3.40 and $2.80. Unreal Rocket paid $5.
It wouldn’t be a Prairie State Festival without a victory from the barn of trainer Chris Block, who has saddled more ‘Festival’ winners than anyone. Team Block’s Fort Prado returned from injury to successfully defend his title in the $86,400 Black Tie Affair Handicap with a neck tally over Majestic Zeal. With Albarado aboard for his second win of the day, the son of El Prado covered the mile and a sixteenth over firm turf in 1:42.18.
“Chris did a great job getting him ready for today,” said Albarado. “I know he’s had some time off. Whenever they bring him up, he’s ready. Today I was just a passenger. He prefers a little cut in the ground but it was a little hard today, but he prevailed and showed his class. He’s like wine: he’s getting better with age. He’s professional about everything. He’s kind. If you want him there earlier, he’ll get you there.”
The prohibitive 2-5 favorite, Fort Prado paid $2.80, $2.40 and $2.10. Majestic Zeal returned $9.80 and $7.60. Home of Stars ran third in the 10-horse field and paid $5.20.
In the day’s other stakes race, Bob & Nancy Bartels’ Bluesbdancing overcame traffic trouble at the top of the stretch to win the $82,050 Isaac Murphy Handicap by a neck over the fast-closing 4-5 favorite Pretty Jenny. The Terrel Gore-trained daughter of Golden Gear was clocked in 1:10.26 for the six furlongs over a fast track.
“She’s a real nice filly,” said winning rider Eusebio Razo Jr. “I got a little anxious around the 3/8 pole but once I got her through there she was fine.”
Sent off as the 2-1 second choice, Bluesbdancing paid $6.60, $2.60 and $2.20. Pretty Jenny returned $2.20 and $2.10. Denoun N Deverb paid $2.60.
Arlington Park -- the Chicago area's premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. -- will run a 95-day meet in 2006 from Friday, May 5 through Tuesday, Sept. 12. Arlington Park, whose parent company is Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN), also operates eight off-track, simulcast-wagering facilities: Trackside Arlington Park (Arlington Heights), Trackside Quad City Downs (East Moline), Trackside Chicago, Trackside McHenry, Trackside Rockford, Trackside South Beloit, Trackside Waukegan and Lucky's featuring Trackside OTB in South Elgin. Information on Arlington Park can be found online at www.arlingtonpark.com.
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