Arlington Park news release
Contact: David Zenner
BLOCK, JANKS ADD TO PRAIRIE STATE FESTIVAL WIN TOTALS
ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. (June 19, 2010) – It wouldn’t be a Prairie State Festival without at least one victory from Team Block, but it took until the fifth of the six stakes races for that to occur when Shrewd Operator took the lead just after the start and wired his rivals to take the $92,250 White Oak Handicap by 2 ½ lengths. Trained by Chris Block, the 6-year-old son of Twining was ridden by Eduardo Perez and got the six furlongs over Polytrack in 1:10.42.
“Everything is the break with this horse,” said Block, who picked up his leading 16th win in Prairie State Festival competition. “He’s got to get away from there cleanly and he did today. When I saw 23 – he’s never seen that in his life – and 45 and 4. Eddie did a great job. He gets along with this horse. He settled nicely for him and left plenty in the tank for him. He loves the synthetic surface.”
Winning for the seventh time in 15 starts, Shrewd Operator added $52,583 to elevate his earnings to $257,428 for his owner-breeder.
Dispatched as the 7-5 favorite, he paid $4.80, $3.40 and $2.40. Wildeydsouthernboy returned $4 and $3. Mighty Rule paid $3.20.
Trainer Christine Janks, second among active trainers in Prairie State Festival competition, also added to her total by winning the day’s final race, the $89,900 Springfield Stakes. S. D. Brilie Partnership’s Big Looie overtook front running Royal Express inside the final sixteenth after battling that rival throughout the race to prevail.
Chris Emigh rode the Military gelding who covered the mile over Polytrack in 1:37.82 and paid $6, $3.80 and $3.20 as the betting favorite.
“They were wanting to race each other down the backstretch and I was getting a little worried,” Emigh said. “I was able to back off a little bit. I thought my horse was getting a little tired but he has a big heart. He was ready and fit and he had enough to finish.”
It was the second straight stakes victory for Big Looie, who won the $100,000 Land of Lincoln at Hawthorne Race Course in April. Overall it was his fourth tally in six starts. He earned $51,782 to push his bankroll to $148,586 for his owner breeder.
Lansing Blue ended up second in the nine-horse field and paid $21.20 and $9.20. Royal Express had to settle for third and returned $4.60.
William Stiritz’s My Sonny Boy won the $89,350 Black Tie Affair Handicap over Princeville Condo in a thrilling head-bob photo finish that saw the son of Royal Academy prevail by a nose in the mile and a sixteenth turf race, which was run over “yielding” going in 1:45.24.
Tim Thornton was aboard the Scott Becker pupil for the first time Saturday and said he let the horse run his own race.
“I just let him relax,” he said. “I didn’t want to send him and get into a speed duel. I followed (race favorite) Free Fighter around there and when he started to get into a little trouble, I angled outside of him. When I made the lead he kind of wanted to pull up a little bit but he felt the other come on back again and he kept on trying.”
The win was the fifth in 22 starts for My Sonny Boy, who earned $52,002 to push his bankroll to $162,081 for his owner-breeder. Sent off at odds of more than 11-1, he paid $25.20, $9 and $4.40.
Princeville Condo returned $4.20 and $3. Third-place finisher Gentleman Chester paid $4.
Owner-trainer Mike Stidham had cross-entered Secreat Kin in both the Isaac Murphy and the Lincoln Heritage Handicap and opted to run her in the former. It was the right call as the daughter of Sea of Secrets won the $87,900 race by 1 ¼ lengths over pacesetter Kip Berries. With Jesus Castanon aboard, the 6-year-old mare ran the six furlongs over Polytrack in 1:11.32.
“Mike (owner-trainer Stidham) said to try to keep her close to the pace,” Castanon said. I let her be where she was comfortable, and when I got to the quarter pole I switched her to the outside.”
Recently claimed for $62,500 by Stidham, Secreat Kin earned $51,158 for the Isaac Murphy win to push her bankroll to $404,420 while bettering her record to eight wins from 29 starts.
Secret Kin paid $11.40, $6.40 and $3.80. Kip Berries returned $15.40 and $6.40. Ripe Tomato finished third and paid $3.40.
Despite drawing the outside post in the field of 11, Two Bucks To Show LLC’s Cumulonimble got good early position, took the lead in the stretch and prevailed by three parts of a length over Peyote Patty in the $96,035 Lincoln Heritage Handicap. Michael Baze rode the Wayne Catalano-trained daughter of Stormy Atlantic who covered the 1 1/16 miles over “yielding” turf in 1:45.33.
“He (Catalano) said to let her break out of there and get good position early – just be sitting there with a lot of horse and save it for the end,” said Baze, who is riding at Arlington for the first time this summer.
She rebounded nicely off a sub-par effort in her seasonal debut to pick up career win number six from 13 trips to the post. She picked up $54,172 to push her career earnings to $211,601.
Cumulonimble, the 7-5 favorite, paid $4.80, $2.80 and $2.60. Peyote Patty returned $3.80 and $3.20. Apple Martini paid $3.80.
Asiel Stable’s Heavenly Lass rallied from far back to overtake Sweet Lemon Chello in deep stretch to win the $93,850 Purple Violet Stakes by a length and a half. Brandon Meier was aboard the Rusty Hellman charge who covered a mile over Polytrack in 1:39.35.
“We were laying good while they were cruising up front,” Meier said. “When I asked her, she responded huge. She’s been going great in the morning and she came in to the race perfectly.”
Saturday’s victory was the first on Polytrack for the daughter of Victory Gallop and her second in seven starts overall. The winner’s share of $52,898 more than doubled her bankroll to $103,293 for her owner-breeder.
Sent off at odds of more than 11-1, she paid $24.60, $12.60 and $8.20. Sweet Lemon Chello returned $6.80 and $4.80. That’s Whatshesaid ran third and paid $9.20.
Quotes for the White Oak Handicap
Chris Block (trainer of winner Shrewd Operator): “Everything is the break with this horse. He’s got to get away from there cleanly and he did today. When I saw 23 – he’s never seen that in his life – and 45 and 4. Eddie did a great job. He gets along with this horse. He settled nicely for him and left plenty in the tank for him. He loves the synthetic surface.”
Eduardo Perez (rode winner Shrewd Operator): “The last time, he jumped a little bit and left the gate slow. Today, he left pretty good. We were going pretty slow (up front) and that was it.”
James Graham (rode runner-up Wildeydsouthernboy): Asked if thought he would catch the winner – “After they went 23 (seconds to the quarter), no. Trip was fine. Clear. Just couldn’t get him.”
Hugh Robertson (trains runner-up Wildeydsouthernboy): “They handed the other horse the race. When I saw 23 up there, I said that’s a joke. My horse came running late though.”
Quotes for the Springfield Stakes
Chris Emigh (rode the winner Big Looie): “They were wanting to race each other down the backstretch and I was getting a little worried. I got to back off a little bit. I thought my horse was getting a little tired but he has a big heart. He was ready and fit and he had enough to finish.”
Rob Dobbs (assistant to trainer Christine Janks, Big Looie): “We’re hoping he’s good enough to keep winning these Illinois-bred races. We are hoping he can go a little longer, which he showed today because he finished good. They had a pretty good pace and I was getting worried the other horse might be getting away from him, but he prevailed in the end.”
Jesse Lantz, 2nd on Lansing Blue: "It set up nice, he hung a little bit. He didn't train quite like we wanted, so he ran out of training at the end."
James Graham, 3rd on Royal Express: "He ran his (tail) off! I thought he would pull it off until late, he probably doesn't want to go that far. He conserved himself, and the winner came and got him."
Quotes for the Lincoln Heritage Handicap
Michael Baze (rode the winner Cumulonimble): “He (trainer Wayne Catalano) said to let her break out of there and get good position early – just be sitting there with a lot of horse and save it for the end. She needed the last race and today she was a completely different horse.”
Wayne Catalano (trainer of the winner, Cumulonimble): “Steve Hobby (her former trainer) went east and the owner sought me out to train the horse. She ran a great race today. The post position (14) made me nervous but we had a couple of good scratches (to move into post 11). We had the speed to get in position to do what we needed to do if everything went our way, which it did.”
Tim Thornton (rode runner-up Peyote Patty): “My trip was not as good as I would have like it to have been. I got shut off a bit in the first turn and I think that cost me the race. I think we should have won for sure. She ran her race but we could have had a better trip.”
Inez Karlsson (third on Apple Martini): “I was going good and suddenly a horse stopped in front of me and I had to check sharply. I got going again and another horse stopped in front of me and I had to check again. I finally decided I had to go around which isn’t the way you want to go on the turf but sometimes that’s what you have to do.”
Quotes for the Purple Violet Handicap
Rusty Hellman (trains winner Heavenly Lass): “She’s a little filly and he have to space our races out a little more. She like the grass so we were hoping she’d like the Polytrack. She had been working over it good.”
Brandon Meier (rode winner Heavenly Lass): “We were laying good while they were cruising up front. When I asked her, she responded huge. She’s been going great in the morning and she came in to the race perfectly.”
Lisa Merritt (trains runner-up Sweet Lemon Chello): “It was a very gutsy performance. She didn’t get a whole lot out of her last race so we were just hoping she had enough to finish well today. We’re proud of her.”
Junior Alvarado (3rd on Thats Whatshesaid): "We had a perfect trip all the way, just got beat. She tried really hard."
Tanner Riggs (4th on beaten favorite Wild Hope): "It was a good trip, I just don't think she's quite the horse she is over at Hawthorne. I think she travels over the surface a little more. She was trying, but she just couldn't get her stride on this track."
Quotes for the Black Tie Affair Handicap
Tim Thornton (winning jockey on My Sonny Boy): “He broke alright. I just let him relax and run his own race. I had never been on him before. I didn’t want to send him and get into a speed duel. I followed Free Fighter around there and when he started to get into a little trouble, I angled outside of him. When I made the lead he kind of wanted to pull up a little bit but he felt the other come on back again and he kept on trying.”
Michele Boyce (trains runner-up Princeville Condo): “That was tough. It was a bob of the head and he tried so hard. He gives his all every time, and he did again today. He got beat by a better horse. He lays his body down every time.”
Jesus Castanon (jockey for runner-up Princeville Condo): “He was really striding out at the end. It was just a bad bob that got him.”
Quotes for the Isaac Murphy Handicap
Jesus Castanon (rode the winner Secret Kin): “Mike (owner-trainer Stidham) said to try to keep her close to the pace. I let her be where she was comfortable, and when I got to the quarter pole I switched her to the outside.”
Junior Alvarado (2nd on Kip Berries): "She tried really hard, she's like a really, really, really fast filly. I tried to get her to relax a little bit. She was fine at the end, just got beat."
Lyndie Wade (rode beaten co-favorite Nicks): "We just got out-kicked at the end."
Brandon Meier (third aboard Ripe Tomato): “I had a perfect trip. That’s how she runs. She always comes from out of it. She had that closing kick but we just weren’t going to get to them today.”
Arlington Park – the Chicago area’s premier Thoroughbred racetrack located in Arlington Heights, Ill. – will run a 91-day meet in 2010 from Thursday, April 29 through Sunday, Sept. 26. Arlington Park, whose parent company is Churchill Downs Incorporated (Nasdaq: CHDN), also operates 10 off-track, simulcast-wagering facilities: Trackside Arlington Park (Arlington Heights), Trackside Chicago, Trackside Quad City Downs (East Moline), Trackside Waukegan, Shooters Bar & Grill at Don Carter Lanes featuring Trackside Rockford, 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, Tad’s Sports Bar & Grill featuring Trackside OTB in South Beloit and Salerno-Pincente Ristorante featuring Trackside OTB in Hodgkins. Information on Arlington Park can be found online at www.arlingtonpark.com.