About $450,000 will be on the line June 20 in six Illinois-registered stakes that make up the third Prairie State Festival at Arlington Park. The afternoon is designed to showcase Illinois racing and the history of the state.
The six $75,000 stakes in the Prairie State Festival are the Purple Violet Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at one mile; the Springfield Stakes for 3-year-olds at one mile; the Isaac Murphy Handicap for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, at six furlongs; the White Oak Handicap for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs; the Lincoln Heritage Handicap for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, at 1 1/16 miles on the turf; and the Cardinal Handicap, for 3-year-olds and at 1 1/16 miles on the turf.
The Cardinal lured a capacity field of 14 turf headed by Patricia Miessler and Cliff Raber's Fan Club's Mister, who won the grade II American Derby on the Arlington turf last season. The Rickey Harris-trained 4-year-old is the highweight at 121pounds.
Team Block's Mystery Giver, winner of the $150,000 Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup Handicap and second to Fan Club's Mister in the $100,000 Woodchopper Stakes at Fair Grounds, is a key rival in the Cardinal.
Others in the "feature" are Mt. Joy Stables's Just Like Jimmy, Carolyn Friedberg's Minor Wisdom, Horse Cents Stable's Mister Volare, BJB Stable's Runaway Victor, Mr. and Mrs. Michael Brickman's Smilin' Slew, Howard Nelson and Dan Johns' Treat Me Doc, Thomas Fedro Sr.'s Reno Rumble, Carl Moore Management's G All Day, Mikos, Mikos, and Miller Racing Stable's Lil Mephistopheles, Jan Nilsen's Paddy Spy, Irish Acres Farm's Afleet Buck, and Steve Lewis' Chartwell.
Two-time defending champion Ioya Two, who races for Team Block, looms the heavy favorite in the "co-featured" Lincoln Heritage. The 7-year-old Lord At War mare, voted Illinois champion older female in 2001, won the grade III Modesty last year on the Arlington turf.