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|Arlington Park Stakes Advance: Prairie State Festival
Contact: David Zenner
FORT PRADO HEADLINES PRAIRIE STATE FESTIVAL
Reigning Horse of the Year Returns for State-Bred Showcase
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (July 5, 2007) – Team Block’s Fort Prado, the 2006 Illinois Horse of the Year, is the star attraction among the 56 horses who passed the entry box for the six $75,000-added stakes races that comprise the eighth annual Prairie State Festival to be held Saturday, July 7 at Arlington Park.
The six races that make up the showcase for state-breds are:
Installed as the 3-5 morning line favorite in the Black Tie Affair, the first of the stakes races on the card, Fort Prado faces state-bred competition for the first time since capturing last year’s edition of this race by a neck over Majestic Zeal. The 6-year-old son of El Prado earned his Horse of the Year title last year by capturing four of seven starts including two grade III events – the Fair Grounds Breeders’ Cup Handicap and the John B. Connally Breeders’ Cup Handicap at Sam Houston Race Park. In five starts this year, the Chris Block-trained gelding has one victory, winning the restricted $100,000 Russell L. Reineman Illinois Owners Stakes on May 5.
Prominent among Fort Prado’s competition in the Black Tie Affair is the Charles Sigrist & Moises Yanez-owned entry of Rey Del Sol and Majestic Zeal. The former won a second level allowance over this course in May while the latter beat open company allowance rivals last month.
Defending champion S. D. Brilie Ltd. Partnership’s High Expectations is the 7-5 morning line favorite in the White Oak. The 5-year-old son of Peaks and Valleys prepped for his repeat bid with a 1 ¼-length score in the $46,950 Zen Stakes, which the Christine Janks trainee also took last year. Earlier this year, the chestnut gelding captured the $87,000 Chicagoland Handicap at Hawthorne Race Course.
Others of note in the White Oak include Asiel Stable’s Caruso, Illinois champion 2-year-old male in 2006 and winner of the $80,000 Land of Lincoln Stakes at Hawthorne earlier this year, and Russell L. Reineman Stable Inc.’s Last Gran Standing, runner-up to High Expectations in the Zen.
Arbaway Farm and Carson Springs Farms’ Ms. Lydonia and Crown’s Way Farm’s You Dancing Devil, the 1-2 finishers in last year’s Lincoln Heritage, renew their rivalry as the top two program choices in this year’s edition. The former, trained by Christine Janks, comes in off a disappointing effort in the $47,400 Reluctant Guest against open distaffers and the latter, from the barn of Neil Pessin, won an open company allowance race here in May.
The Isaac Murphy Handicap also features a return of its 1-2 finishers from a year ago – Bob & Nancy Bartels’ Bluesbdancing and Arbaway Farm and Carson Springs Farms’ Pretty Jenny – who also finished in that order in the $47,750 Fit For a Queen Stakes here in May. The Terrel Gore-trained Bluesbdancing looks for a return to her winning ways after finishing seventh in the Grade III Chicago Handicap here in June. Pretty Jenny, who will race as part of a coupled entry with Modjadji, was fourth in the $46,650 Your Ladyship Stakes in her last start.
Team Block’s Secret Kin gets the morning-line nod in the Purple Violet. The Chris Block-trained daughter of Sea of Secrets carries a four-race win skein into the Purple Violet including a score in the $88,000 Lady Hallie Stakes at Hawthorne on April 28 and a tally in open company over Arlington’s Polytrack in June.
Her main competition could come from Richard Rudolph & Michael Vranich’s Magnetic Miss, runner-up in the Lady Hallie and third against older rivals in the Your Ladyship last time out.
Richard Rudolph & Michael Vranich’s Stonehouse is listed as the morning line choice in the Springfield. The Spanky Broussard-trained son of 2000 Arlington Million winner Chester House finished second against older rivals in a second-level allowance race last time out and is a two-time winner in open company this year.
Arlington Park – the Chicago area’s premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. – will run a 94-day meet in 2007 from Friday, May 4 through Sunday, Sept. 16. Arlington Park, whose parent company is Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN), also operates nine off-track, simulcast-wagering facilities: Trackside Arlington Park (Arlington Heights), Trackside Chicago, Trackside Quad City Downs (East Moline), Trackside Rockford, Trackside Waukegan, Fat Sam’s Bar & Grill featuring Trackside OTB in Lockport, Lucky’s featuring Trackside OTB in South Elgin, Nicolino’s featuring Trackside OTB in McHenry and The Inferno featuring Trackside OTB in South Beloit. Information on Arlington Park can be found online at www.arlingtonpark.com.
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