|Arlington Park Barn Notes
Contact: Graham Ross
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In today's notes:
For the third year in a row, popular conditioner Chris Block celebrated multiple wins on Prairie State Festival Day at Arlington Park - this time highlighting his afternoon with his second straight score in the $90,450 Cardinal Handicap.
Team Block's Mystery Giver was the half-length hero of this year's Cardinal, taking over from the Block-trained Reno Rumble, who won the 2001 renewal of the handicap for 3-year-olds and upward that is restricted to Illinois-breds. Reno Rumble, now owned by Thomas Fedro Sr. but still trained by Block, finished sixth in Saturday's Cardinal after a troubled trip.
"Both Mystery Giver and Reno Rumble came back good," said Block Sunday morning during training hours at Arlington. "They're a little tired but that's probably more because of the heat yesterday than anything else.
"Mystery Giver was also coming off a long layoff, and they're all usually pretty tired when they've been away as long as he had," Block said. "As for future plans for Mystery Giver, I do know that I want to leave him here at Arlington all summer because shipping seems to take a lot out of him, and considering that, probably the Arlington Handicap would be something we'll take a look at."
The Grade III Arlington Handicap, part of Million Preview Day July 27, is the final local prep for the Grade I Arlington Million August 17, and Mystery Giver is also nominated to that showcase event of the International Festival of Racing.
"I also thought Reno Rumble ran a super race yesterday," Block said. "There was a little incident at the eighth pole and I thought that cost us dearly. I don't think he would have won the race but it might have cost us second. I honestly thought going into the race that Reno Rumble had a good shot to win it."
William Lloyd, Gerald Belpedio & Sam Belpedio's Ellie's Rose, who came from far back to capture Saturday's $87,150 Lincoln Heritage Handicap by two and three-quarter lengths, was none the worse for wear following her impressive score in the mile and a sixteenth turf test for fillies and mares.
"She's just perfect," said Michele Boyce, trainer of Ellie's Rose, on Sunday. "I'm very pleased with her performance. She ate up everything last night. She never missed a beat.
"I don't really have any specific plans for her," said Boyce. "We'll see what's available here at Arlington Park and take it from there."
Team Block's Ioya Two, who had won the two previous runnings of the Lincoln Heritage, finished fourth in Saturday's renewal. She challenged entering the lane but lacked a late response.
"We scoped her and she's clean," said trainer Chris Block of Ioya Two's failure to repeat in the race for a third straight year. "I'm not sure what happened to her. I'm going to watch the replay and see if I can make a further analysis off of that. To be honest, I'm not sure she's ever had to steady that hard before, and after a long layoff she's not the easiest horse to settle down. She wasn't relaxed going into the first turn, and that certainly wasn't the jockey's fault.
"When you go off at short odds like that, you want to win," Block said. "There's a lot of pressure and everyone's expectations are high. It was a bit shocking but you have to erase that out of your mind and go on to the next one. Mystery Giver's win really picked us back up.
"I'm not sure what our plan will be with Ioya Two," said Block. "I would have liked for her to have won yesterday. I wouldn't think that we'll go in the Modesty, but I won't rule it out entirely. We'll have to see how she feels. We'll just keep an eye on her for now."
After stumbling at the start, R. Otto Stables Inc.'s Summer Mis closed with a bold rush to draw off in upper stretch and held sway late to capture Saturday's $86,750 Purple Violet Stakes by four lengths.
"And she's doing great this morning," said trainer Tony Mitchell Sunday. "She's laying down right now, she's a little tired, but I guess she's entitled to that. We've got plenty of carrots on ice for her and about seven pounds of peppermints.
"That was the win we needed to help start us on our program," Mitchell said. "We'll look for a nice easy spot for her next time and take it one race at a time, but certainly if she does well next time we'll give some consideration to the Singapore Plate (Grade III, August 10.)"
L. J. Gaudreau & Larry Gillen's Come September, always well placed, took command approaching the lane and drew clear late for a two-length tally in Saturday's $85,450 Isaac Murphy Handicap at six furlongs.
"She looks no worse than when she went over," said trainer Joe McKellar on Sunday following Come September's impressive win. "I was very pleased with her race and she's doing well today. I'm not sure what our plans are concerning her next start. I haven't had time to give it a whole lot of thought."
Slipping through along the rail turning for home, Irish Acres Farm's Colorful Tour drew clear late to win Saturday's $83,250 Springfield Stakes by a length and a half.
"He looks beautiful this morning," reported trainer Alfonso Razo. "Everything went perfect last night and he's walking perfect this morning. We'll nominate him to some more stakes and make a list for you in a few days."
Ron L. Brandenburg's Tic N Tin made or forced the pace throughout but proved a nose the best at the wire in Saturday's $84,400 White Oak Handicap at Arlington Park.
Late Sunday morning, owner-trainer Brandenburg reported all was well with his horse as he approached the St. Louis area with the 2002 White Oak winner.
"He's fine," said Brandenburg, who left Arlington at 5 a.m. Sunday while hauling Tic N Tin back to his home base. "We may bring this horse back for the Dr. Fager Handicap (June 30) if it's not too quick for him. That race is at seven furlongs and that's stretching him a little bit, but we'll take a look at it."
Three Punch Louie, a 2-year-old colt by 1996 Preakness winner Louis Quatorze, earned the highest sale bid of $50,000 from Michael & Allen Faber and partners in Saturday's Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders And Owners Foundation 2002 Annual Sale of Two-Year-Olds in Training and Horses of Racing Age.
A total of 63 horses were catalogued in the annual sale, which got underway Saturday at 6:30 p.m. at Arlington Park.
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