Chris Block, the leading conditioner in the Prairie State Festival’s nine-year history, increased his advantage over all other trainers by saddling two winners in Saturday’s six-stakes series restricted to horses registered in the Illinois program.
Block’s initial Saturday toast came when Virginia Tarra Trust’s Apple Martini proved best by three-quarters in the $88,400 Purple Violet Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, and the second winner’s circle picture was posed after Team Block’s Amazing Results captured the $93,950 Springfield Stakes for sophomores.
“Amazing Results ran just the way I thought he’d run,” said Block while speaking on the Arlington Park apron during training hours Sunday morning. “He’s always been a very mature colt and he’s very competitive.
Things did not work out quite as well for Team Block’s Fort Prado, who missed capturing his fifth Prairie State Festival race when finishing second in Saturday’s $92,950 Black Tie Affair Handicap.
“He came back fine and is doing fine this morning,” said Block. “He just got outrun. He ran his race. We just have to give kudos to the winner (Nick Mamatas and John Kerber’s Gentleman Chester).
“As for (Team Block’s) Secret Kin (fifth in the $86,500 Isaac Murphy Handicap), I think the pace hurt her,” said Block, “and I also think she’s a little better on dirt (than Polytrack). I think now we’ll try sprinting her on turf. Also, I thought (Summer Camp Stable’s) Holy Thursday (fourth in the $86,400 White Oak) ran a big race. He was an underdog (10-1), but it was a big effort on his part and I was very proud of him.”
JANKS-TRAINED MIGHTY RULE MEASURES RIVALS IN WHITE OAK HANDICAP
Arbaway Farm, Carson Springs Farm and David Campbell’s Mighty Rule was crowned king in Saturday’s $86,400 White Oak Handicap, much to the delight of his trainer Christine Janks, second-leading conditioner in Prairie State Festival history.
“He’s one of my favorite horses that I’ve ever trained,” said Janks Sunday morning, “not so much because of his ability, but because of the way he’ll always battle to the end. I was very proud of him yesterday, and he and all the rest of my horses are doing well this morning.
“High Expectations (S. D. Brilie Ltd. Partnership’s two-time winner of the White Oak but fifth Saturday) didn’t come up to the race that well,” said Janks, “so I wasn’t too surprised by the way he ran, but it’s hard to miss these (Prairie State) races. You only have one day to take advantage of them. I probably brought (Letto Thoroughbreds, Arbaway Farm and Carson Springs Farm’s) No More Sweets (seventh in the $92,950 Black Tie Affair Handicap) back too soon. He made a nice move, but he’s never flattened out like that before.
“As for Stop a Train (eighth in the $97,350 Lincoln Heritage), she’s not too good on turf, especially when it’s soft, but we were taking a shot in the dark there, too,” Janks said.
“However, I was very pleased with the way (Zaloudek, Henderson and Carson Springs Farm’s) Sun for Fun (second in the $88,400 Purple Violet) ran yesterday,” said Janks. “I thought she’d do well and she did. She’s a nice filly and she keeps on improving.”
LINCOLN HERITAGE HEROINE LADY LIONEL A LITTLE ‘IFFY’ SUNDAY
Of all the horses trainer Moises Yanez saddled on Prairie State Festival Day, the only one who didn’t come back well was Charles Sigrist and Del Sol Farm’s Lady Lionel – length and three-quarter victress in Saturday’s $97,350 Lincoln Heritage Handicap.
“She’s a little ‘iffy’ today,” said Yanez Sunday morning during training hours. “We’re not sure what’s wrong. We’re going to do an ultra-sound on her, so we’ll know more in a couple of days. She may be trying to ‘bow’ – I don’t know.”
‘CHESTER’ ADDS TO PRAIRIE STATE FESTIVAL WINS
Nick Mamatas and John Kerber’s Gentleman Chester came from off the pace to win Saturday’s $92,950 Black Tie Affair Handicap by a length and three-quarters, and was in fine fettle Sunday morning, according to trainer Ralph Nicks.
The victory came one year after the 4-year-old son of 2000 Arlington Million winner Chester House took down winning honors in the 2007 Springfield Stakes.
“He’s been training really well,” said Nicks over the phone Sunday morning, “and I expected him to run really well. In fact, I was a little disappointed with his last race (second to No More Sweets May 4), but that was his first start after a long layoff, and he improved off of that and he’s doing very well this morning.”