The 2002 Illinois Horse of the Year and grade II stakes winner Mystery Giver is among 60 horses entered in the six stakes that make up the June 26 Prairie State Festival at Arlington Park. Each of the six stakes for Illinois-breds carries a purse of $75,000.
Team Block's Mystery Giver headlines the Cardinal Handicap at 1 1/16 miles on the turf. The other stakes on the program are the Purple Violet for 3-year-old fillies at one mile; the Springfield for 3-year-olds at one mile; the Lincoln Heritage Handicap for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, at 1 1/16 miles on the grass; the Isaac Murphy for fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, at six furlongs; and the White Oak Handicap for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs.
Mystery Giver, part of a Chris Block-trained entry with Reno Rumble, was assigned 127 pounds, which means he'd spot other members of the field from six to 16 pounds. Block said Mystery Giver is ready to run, "but because of the weight, we'll decide when we get a little closer to the race if he'll go."
Mystery Giver, by Dynaformer
out of the Naskra mare Ioya, won the $500,000 Mervin Muniz Jr. Memorial Handicap (gr. IIT) at Fair Grounds in March. In his last start May 1, Mystery Giver finished third in the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic (gr. IT) at Churchill Downs.
In preparation for the Cardinal, Mystery Giver breezed a half-mile in :48 3/5 June 21 at Arlington. Carlos Marquez Jr. is named to ride in the Cardinal.
The weight assignment will keep Richard Otto Stable's Summer Miss, the 2003 Illinois Horse of the Year, out of the Isaac Murphy. She was assigned 128 pounds under the handicap conditions.
"We're not going to enter," trainer Tony Mitchell said before the draw. "The biggest reason is the safety thing. She can't keep carrying all this weight she has been getting in her recent starts. I've got to look after her and protect her for her career as a broodmare."
First post time for the 10-race card at Arlington is 1 p.m. CDT.