Fifty-seven different horses, including all six of last season’s Prairie State Festival winners, have been named to the six stakes races that comprise Saturday’s ninth running of Prairie State Festival at Arlington Park.
The six $100,000 races that make up the Prairie State Festival are:
+ The Springfield Stakes for 3-year-olds at one mile
+ The Isaac Murphy Handicap for fillies & mares, 3-year-olds & upward at six furlongs
+ The White Oak Handicap for 3-year-olds & upward at six furlongs
+ The Lincoln Heritage Handicap for fillies & mares 3-year-olds & upward at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf
+ The Black Tie Affair Handicap (formerly the Cardinal) for 3-year-olds & upward at a mile and a sixteenth on the turf
Team Block’s Fort Prado, Illinois Horse of the Year two years ago, Older Handicap Male last year and also Turf Champion Colt/Gelding last season, is once again the Prairie State Festival’s star attraction. The Chris Block trainee will shoot for an unprecedented fourth straight win in the Black Tie Affair, contested at 1 1/16-miles over the Arlington grass, after winning the Springfield Stakes on the main track as a 3-year-old in 2004. The gray horse will shoulder the top impost of 123 pounds including Arlington champion jockey Rene Douglas in the Black Tie Affair, and is listed as the 7-5 choice in the morning-line.
Others named to the Black Tie Affair include: Nick Mamatas and John Kerber’s Gentleman Chester, last year’s Springfield winner (6-1); the Charles Sigrist and Del Sol Farm-owned 5-2 morning-line entry of Majestic Zeal, third in last year’s Black Tie Affair, and Rey Del Sol, third in this year’s James Tafel Illinois Owners Stakes; and Richard Rudolph and Michael Vranich’s Stonehouse, 5-1 in the early line after showing speed in the Grade III Hanshin Cup.
S. D. Brilie Ltd. Partnership’s High Expectations will attempt to extend his victory skein to three in Saturday’s $100,000 White Oak Handicap for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs. The Christine Janks trainee is listed as the 5-2 second choice in the White Oak morning-line behind 8-5 choice Last Gran Standing, owned by Russell L. Reineman Stable Inc. That 5-year-old gelding has won two straight sprints over the Arlington Polytrack this spring.
Triple C Thoroughbreds Royal Leah, heroine of the 2007 Lincoln Heritage Handicap, returns to defend her title at 6-1 in the morning-line, while Nancy Vanier and Cartwright Thoroughbreds IV’s Love Handles is listed as the 5-2 Lincoln Heritage morning-line favorite after winning last fall’s Ada L. Rice Illinois Owners Stakes here. The Lincoln Heritage is for fillies and mares at 1 1/16-miles on the turf course.
Saturday’s $100,000 Isaac Murphy Handicap for fillies and mares at six furlongs will allow the sprint’s last two winners to match strides. Arbaway Farm and Carson Springs Farm’s Modjadji proved best in last year’s running and is listed at 9-2 in the morning-line this Saturday, and Bob and Nancy Bartels’ Bluesbdancing took the 2006 renewal but is now pegged at 12-1. Arbaway Farm and Carson Springs Farm’s Pretty Jenny, heroine of the 2005 Purple Violet while a sophomore, is the morning-line choice for the Isaac Murphy at 2-1, and the 2007 Purple Violet winner Magnetic Miss, owned by Richard Rudolph and Michael Vranich, is listed at 7-2 in Saturday’s Isaac Murphy.
Toasted as the early 9-5 favorite for Saturday’s $100,000 Purple Violet restricted to 3-year-old Illinois-registered fillies at one mile over Polytrack, is Virginia Tarra Trust’s Apple Martini. She won her last over the local lawn but broke her maiden last winter on Oaklawn dirt.
In Saturday’s $100,000 Springfield Stakes, also restricted to Illinois-registered sophomores and at one mile over Polytrack, Captain Jack Racing Stable and James Loven’s Mr. Mischief is the slight morning-line choice at 7-2 after finishing a close third in the grassy $150,000 Arlington Classic May 24. Wayne Bessler’s Dynamic Wayne, a winner on the grass here in a second level allowance race June 1, is the 4-1 second choice in the Springfield.
FRIDAY FUNERAL SERVICE FOR NORMAN ZENNER
Funeral arrangements have been finalized for Norman Zenner, father of Dave Zenner, senior communications manager at Arlington Park.
Mr. Zenner’s funeral service will be held Friday at 10 a.m. at Shalom Memorial Park, 1700 W. Rand Road in Arlington Heights, Illinois, with interment to follow immediately.
Mr. Zenner, 86, died Sunday in Scottsdale, Arizona, after serving for many years as a mainstay of the popular Sam ‘N Hy’s Delicatessen in Skokie, Illinois.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be contributed to the American Heart Association.