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Horse slaughter in Illinois
|Hawthorne Racecourse (10/29/09)
Contact: Ron Uchman (708) 780-3700
Fort Prado to Bid Farewell in Illinois Festival
Saturday marks the return of the popular Illinois Festival of Racing at Hawthorne Race Course. This much-anticipated event is comprised of six races, each carrying a purse of $100,000. The races are restricted to runners that have been registered, conceived and/or foaled in the state of Illinois.
With solid fields from top to bottom, the focus will be on the final race of millionaire Fort Prado. The eight-year-old horse has won 18 times from 58 career starts for earnings of over $1.2 million. The multiple graded stakes winner is cross-entered in both the Lightning Jet Handicap and the Buck’s Boy Handicap, and a final decision of which race he will run in will be made Friday morning.
A brief look at each race, and the fields for the Illinois Festival of Racing:
THE POWERLESS HANDICAP
The 9th running of Powerless Handicap, for fillies and mares at six furlongs is first up. Nicks, owned by Carson Springs Farm, Arbaway Farm, and Ken Meeker, won last year’s edition of this race. This Christine Janks charge has been freshened since July but she’s done well off of layoffs in the past and has always shown a definite affinity for this racetrack.
6 Furlongs | Fillies and Mares | 3 Year Olds And Up Stakes | Purse: $100,000
THE ILLINI PRINCESS HANDICAP
Two-time Illinois Princess winner, Stop a Train, is apparently retired but we did get the 2008 Illinois 3-year-old Filly of the Year, Apple Martini. This Chris Block trainee, owned by Virginia Tarra Trust, never won here but she did finish third in this race last year and she did take the $89,000 Lincoln Heritage at Arlington the last time she met state breds. She could be poised to take the 32nd edition of this race.
1 1/16 Miles | Fillies and Mares | 3 Year Olds And Up Stakes | Purse: $100,000
THE SHOWTIME DEB
For 2-year-old fillies, the 14th running of the Showtime Deb is a tough event to handicap. None of the fillies in here have won more than one race and one is still a maiden. Shake N Quake, trained by the red-hot Jim DiVito and owned by Robert Neumeyer, will probably be favored off a good second-place finish in the Prairie Meadows Debutante, but she’s not facing an easy task.
6 Furlongs | Fillies | 2 Year Olds Stakes | Purse: $100,000
THE BUCK’S BOY HANDICAP
The 13th running of the Buck’s Boy Handicap features another seeking to defend his championship. The speedy Broussard charge Stonehouse led every step of the way in last year’s edition. This Richard Rudolph and Michael Vranich-owned horse has plenty of company on the front end, however, and he’s going to have to hold off the late runs by many of his rivals, including the venerable Fort Prado. This is reportedly the last race for Fort Prado, who has amassed earnings in excess of $1,200,000. His connections would love to see him go out with one more victory.
1 1/16 Miles | Open | 3 Year Olds And Up Stakes | Purse: $100,000
THE SUN POWER
This six-furlong event for 2-year-old colts and geldings, is another race where none have won more than one. From a pedigree standpoint, Team Block’s Striking Hight, trained by Chris Block, would seem to hold an advantage and he did win his only start but he’s had only the one start. It’s quite possible that he’ll be vulnerable in this one.
6 Furlongs | Open | 2 Year Olds Stakes | Purse: $100,000
THE LIGHTNING JET HANDICAP
This could be the toughest race on the card. This six-furlong race, for runners three and up, features many past local stakes winners. Fort Prado is cross-entered in this race. However, he might not even go off as one of the favorites, if this is where they choose to run him. Scarlet Stable’s Mighty Rule, Roger Brueggemann the trainer, was pegged as the lukewarm morning-line favorite. He’s been victorious is five of his 11 local races. But, they might have to catch Shrewd Operator. He finished second in his two local starts but he simply dominated in his last at Arlington and he’s been working nothing but local bullets ever since. Plus, High Expectations might not be in the best form of his career but he did win this race last year off similar form and Christine Janks always seems to have him dead fit for these Illinois stakes days.
6 Furlongs | Open | 3 Year Olds And Up Stakes | Purse: $100,000
TRAFFIC HEADS UP
Just a reminder…Starting Monday, November 2nd, Cicero Avenue will be closed just north of the I-55 (Stevenson Expressway) exit. It is scheduled to remain closed for six days. Please make your travel plans accordingly.
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