Block Pair Win at Prairie State Festival; Mystery Giver 6th

(from Arlington report)
Trainer Chris Block always makes a point to circle the date of the Prairie State Festival on his calendar, and with good reason. Two of his runners – Fort Prado and Lighthouse Lil – found the winner's circle on Arlington's annual celebration for Illinois-registered horses.

Block trainees took top honors in the Springfield Stakes and in the Lincoln Heritage Handicap. However, Block's day ended on a sour note when Mystery Giver finished sixth as the 3-5 favorite in the $84,650 Cardinal Handicap.

Team Block's homebred Fort Prado returned from a three-month layoff to annex the $88,050 Springfield Stakes by 4 ½ lengths with jockey Jesse Campbell. The win was the second straight for the son of El Prado who completed the mile in 1:36.31 and paid $28.20, $15 and $8.

Fort Prado survived a claim of foul from trainer Frank Springer, who saddled runner-up Jaguar Friend, alleging interference in the stretch. The claim was disallowed and the result stood. Jaguar Friend returned $14.60 and $8.

Prairie King, part of a Richard Hazelton-trained trio, finished third and paid $2.80.

(Chart, Equibase)

Block was back in the winner's circle when Hussar Racing Stables LLC's Lighthouse Lil rallied from last to first to win the $85,850 Lincoln Heritage Handicap. C. H. Marquez Jr. rode the 5-year-old Hold for Gold mare who covered the1 1/16 mile over "good" going in 1:44.39. Sent off as the 9-5 favorite, Lighthouse Lil paid $5.80, $3.80 and $2.60.

"She's a come from behind filly so I didn't have much to do," Marquez said. "I just saved as much ground as I could and I asked her to run at the three-sixteenths pole and she did the rest. I just was along for the ride. She's a nice filly."

Trainer Mark Cristel accounted for the next two slots, finishing second with I Can Fan Fan and third with Samantha B. I Can Fan Fan paid $20.60 and $6.20 while Samantha B. returned $2.80.

(Chart, Equibase)

The Cardinal was won in a shocking upset by James M. Kelly's Runaway Victor, who prevailed by a head over Colorful Tour. Ridden by apprentice jockey Cruz Contreras, the son of Runaway Groom covered the mile and a sixteenth over "good" turf in 1:44.46 and paid $60, $22 and $11.40.

"I had this horse since he was a yearling except for a short time," said winning trainer Doug Matthews. "I claimed him back last year (for $4,000). I have always felt that this horse will run with the competition no matter where you put him. He just tries really hard."

Colorful Tour paid $14.40 and $12.80. Home of Stars was another length back in third and paid $12.20.

(Chart, Equibase)

In the other Prairie State Festival races:

Invading trainer Edward Colletti Jr. took home first and second money in the $85,850 Purple Violet Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Everest Stables Inc.'s Slewville raced four wide throughout to prevail by three-quarters of a length under jockey Hiram Rivera. The daughter of Petionville   covered the mile over a fast track in 1:37.43.

Ms. Lydonia was second but disqualified and placed fourth for interference to Barrel Racer in the stretch. The disqualification moved Slewville's stablemate, Wish for Gold, from third to second. The entry returned $5.40, $4.80 and $4.20 as the 17-10 betting favorite. Earlier this year, the tandem ran 1-2 in the $100,000 Lady Hallie Stakes at Hawthorne Race Course.

Barrel Racer was moved up to third and paid $3.40.

(Chart, Equibase)

Ben Barnow's Dharma Girl rallied from just off the pace to win the $85,750 Isaac Murphy Handicap for fillies and mares by a length in 1:10.28. Carlos Silva rode the Richard Hazelton-trained daughter of French Deputy who paid $36.20, $15.20 and $9.20.

"She broke sharp," Silva said. "I just followed the speed and at the three-eighths pole I got a shot to get out and she did the rest."

Jaguar City was second in the 10-horse field and paid $9 and $6.20. It was another 3 ½ lengths back to third-place finisher, Cashmere Miss, who paid $5.20. Synco Peach, the 7-5 post time favorite, stumbled at the start and finished eighth.

(Chart, Equibase)

Favored Silver Bid, owned by Terry Renfrow & Eugene Young, won the day's final stakes race – the $83,650 White Oak Handicap for older sprinters – by three-quarters of a length. The Joel Berndt-trained son of Buckbean cruised the six furlongs in 1:09.70 and paid $4, $2.80 and $2.40 as the even-money favorite.

"I thought he ran a good race," said Berndt. "He laid right off the pace and Rene rode a patient race. He (Silver Bid) has never won a stakes so this is pretty special. He gives us his all every start."

Manitowish was second in the eight-horse field and paid $6 and $3.60. It was another half-length to third-place finisher Wiggins, who paid $3.20.

(Chart, Equibase)

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