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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Arlington Park Barn Notes (5/4/07)
Contact: Graham Ross
In today's notes:
It’s the return of the native on Saturday at Arlington Park!
Team Block’s Fort Prado, who spent the winter in New Orleans, competed most recently in Houston and was slated to run in Louisville a year ago on Kentucky Derby Day, has returned to the state where he was bred in time for Saturday’s $100,000 Illinois Owners Stakes at Arlington Park.
The mile and a sixteenth event over Arlington’s world famous grass course specifically honors the late Russell Reineman for its second running, after tabbing Avers Wexler for recognition in last year’s inaugural edition, but the ownership team of David, Ryan and Patricia Block – with Chris Block as the family’s trainer – have already proved to be worthy successors to continue the tradition of longtime strong Illinois-based ownership representation.
Team Block, the group that campaigned two-time Illinois Horse of the Year Mystery Giver, will be represented by defending Illinois Horse of the Year champion Fort Prado in Saturday’s second running of the $100,000 Illinois Owners Stakes, and the family trainer was quick to endorse Arlington’s idea of having a stakes race specifically restricted to Illinois owners.
“A couple of years ago, when Avers Wexler originally brought up the proposal about having a race specifically restricted to Illinois owners during a horseman’s meeting, we all thought it was a great idea,” said Chris Block when asked about the genesis of the Illinois Owners Stakes. “When I told my family about the proposal, they were very excited, and the strength of the field in the race last year and again this year has proved that it was a very good idea. It gives Illinois owners the chance to compete in a quality race at the racetrack that it beloved by all of us.
“Naturally, I hope Fort Prado does us proud in the race,” said Block. “It’s exciting to be a part of a race like this. He (Fort Prado) has been on a bit of a losing streak lately, but he’s been training well and maybe we can get him back on track Saturday.”
Interestingly, a year ago on Kentucky Derby Day, Fort Prado was at Churchill Downs slated to go to the post in the Grade I Woodford Reserve Stakes, a traditional prep for the Grade I Arlington Million later in the summer. Unfortunately, the gray son of El Prado came up with a foot abscess and became a program scratch the morning of the race. However, he recovered in time to win Arlington’s $86,400 Black Tie Affair later in the summer on Prairie State Festival Day for his second straight victory in that test.
So far this season, Fort Prado has finished second in Fair Grounds’ $100,000 Col. E. R. Bradley Stakes Jan. 13 (losing to last year’s Illinois Owners winner Purim), fifth in the Grade III Fair Grounds Breeders’ Cup Handicap Feb. 10, and was most recently fourth in Sam Houston’s Grade III John B. Connally Breeders’ Cup Handicap April 7.
Stan Fulton’s Buddy Got Even, winner of his first two starts this season at Turfway Park and most recently sixth in Keeneland’s Grade II Commonwealth Breeders’ Cup April 14 – all over the Polytrack surfaces at those two Kentucky ovals – should rule the choice when he faces eight rivals in Saturday’s $47,700 Timeless Native Stakes over Arlington’s newly-installed Polytrack surface.
Ken Meeker and Carson Springs Farm’s Fifteen Rounds, who won this one-mile co-featured event last year at Arlington on the corresponding Kentucky Derby Day local program, appears the one to beat.
Completing the field is Top Turf Farms’ Sampson’s Son, Joseph Lacombe Stable Inc.’s Sadler’s Trick, Jer-Mar Stables LLC’s Propspective Kiss, Donald Lucarelli and Starlight Stable’s Throng, Larry Brumbaugh’s Four Sevens, Kinsman Stable’s Regent Spirit, and Marc Goldish and Savoy Stable’s Prosico.
Ralph and Aury Todd’s The Tin Man, hero of last summer’s Grade I Arlington Million, has now resumed training in preparation for a defense of last summer’s championship and remains in a position to become the first horse to win Arlington’s signature event two straight seasons.
The Tin Man, absent since winning Santa Anita’s Grade I Clement L. Hirsch Memorial Turf Championship last September, worked six furlongs in 1:14 Wednesday at Hollywood Park.
Arlington Park will offer a $50,000 guaranteed Pick 6 during Saturday’s 12-race live local program in addition to wagering on the 133rd Kentucky Derby Day at Churchill Downs.
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