Giant Oak picked a good time to break his 14-race losing streak, as he was placed first in the $500,000 Clark Handicap (gr. I) when stewards disqualified favored Successful Dan for interference Nov. 26 at Churchill Downs.
Dundalk 5 LLC's Dundalk Dust, the only 3-year-old in the field, rallied from last in a six-horse field to win the $161,250 Falls City Handicap (gr. II) for fillies and mares by three lengths at Churchill Downs Nov. 25.
Askbut I Won'ttell switched off the hedge in upper stretch and ran down favored Kiss Mine and My Baby Baby to register her first graded stakes win in the $113,900 Cardinal Handicap (gr. IIIT) Nov. 7 at Churchill Downs.
The favorite, he holds off Giant Oak by three-quarters of a length.
Free Fighter, unplaced in two starts since upsetting the Louisville Handicap (gr. IIIT) in May, is back to defend his title in the $100,000 Stars and Stripes Turf Stakes (gr. IIIT) at Arlington Park Aug. 21.
The most money ever was wagered June 30 on a single race, $379,220, and on a single race card, $2,140,490.
Team Block wins the White Oak Handicap with Shrewd Operator, while trainer Christine Janks scores with Big Looie in the Springfield Stakes June 19 at Arlington Park.
Free Fighter seized the lead from Eagle Poise coming into the stretch and drew off in the lane to produce a determined upset at odds of 12-1 in the $113,800 Louisville Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Churchill Downs May 22.
Free Fighter, with James Graham aboard, outfought 9-10 favorite Brass Hat through a long stretch battle to produce a half-length victory in the $125,000 Stars and Stripes Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Arlington Park Sept. 7.
Virginia Tarra Trust's homebred Giant Oak, successful in his seasonal turf debut while winning the Arlington Classic last out, will look for his first graded stakes win July 11 in the $300,000 American Derby (gr. II) at Arlington Park.
Euphony and Vacation earned their first graded wins on a big stakes day at Arlington Park May 23.
The Virginia H. Tarra Trust's Giant Oak, runner-up in the Kentucky Jockey Club (gr. II) at Churchill Downs and the recent Illinois Derby (gr. II), is out of consideration for the May 2 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I).
Tampa Bay Derby (gr. III) winner Musket Man and Illinois-bred Giant Oak lead a wide-open field of 11 in the 52nd edition of the $500,000 Illinois Derby (gr. II) April 4 at Hawthorne Race Course
Perhaps no horse on the Derby trail is more aptly named than Giant Oak, who makes many of his opponents look like saplings next to him. A big, long-striding son of Giant's Causeway, his size, stride, and style of running can also be a detriment, as he demonstrated in the Risen Star Stakes.
Giant Oak's breeze on March 7, clocked in 1:00.80 for five furlongs, was a routine move in advance of Fair Grounds' $600,000 Louisiana Derby (gr. II) on March 14. However, just past the wire, trainer Chris Block's big horse bobbled briefly, giving the Illinois-based conditioner some moments of concern until he was able to check out his horse back at the barn.
Seaspeak and Amazing Results, both victims of bad racing luck last month at Keeneland, will each try to change their fortunes at Churchill Downs Nov. 9 when they go to post in the $100,000-added Commonwealth Turf (gr. IIIT), a 1 1/16-mile test for 3-year-olds.
Live Oak Plantation's Les Grands Trois has been the victor in all but one of his four career starts despite an on-again off-again training regimen due to physical issues. The son of Officer looks for his first graded stakes win in the $200,000 Perryville (gr. III) at Keeneland Oct. 13.
Team Block's Fort Prado grabbed all the headlines at this year's Prairie State Festival when the 6-year-old gelding became the first horse to be a four-time Festival winner by capturing the $84,150 Black Tie Affair Handicap for the third straight year.
- By Jeff Johnson
A year after an unprecedented string of catastrophic breakdowns left horsemen wondering what was wrong with the dirt track at Arlington Park, they were singing the praises of a new synthetic racing surface.
Frank Kirby has been elected president of the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association.
After much deliberation, owner Robert L. Lothenbach decided against pre-entering his prized 3-year-old turf filly Vacare in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf (gr. IT).
Making just her third career start, unbeaten Lothenbach Stables' homebred Vacare left the field behind in winning Saturday's $200,000 Pucker Up (gr. IIIT) for fillies and mares by four lengths on the Arlington Park turf.
Jockey Larry Sterling Jr. scored a double in the seventh annual Prairie State Festival, Arlington Park's six-race showcase for Illinois-bred Thoroughbreds. Both of the the veteran local rider's victories came on horses he was not originally slated to ride.
Graded stakes winner Fort Prado came from far back to tally a two-length victory in the $125,000 Tampa Bay Breeder's Cup on the turf at Tampa Bay Downs Saturday.
Favored Iosilver, ridden by Eddie Razo Jr., took control at the start and dominated his rivals to win the $100,000 Michael G. Schaefer Mile at Hoosier Park Saturday night.
A cast of nine runners has been entered for Saturday's Robert F. Carey Memorial Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Hawthorne Race Course. Fort Prado, winner of the Sea O Erin Breeders' Cup Mile Handicap, will line up as the 121-pound highweight.
Team Block's Fort Prado overtook Old Deuteronomy mid-stretch and drew off to win the $117,000 Sea o'Erin Breeders' Cup Mile by 1 1/4 lengths Saturday at Arlington Park.
Team Block's millionaire Mystery Giver, who finished 10th in Saturday's Arlington Million (gr. IT), was diagnosed with a non-life threatening injury to his right hind.
Robert and Beverly Lewis' Senor Swinger, ridden by Brice Blanc, captured a roughly run edition of the Arlington Handicap (gr. IIT) by a head Saturday at Arlington Park Saturday.
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.
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.
The Illinois Derby (gr. II) at Hawthorne Race Course and a special about the state of racing industry in Illinois will highlight the April 3 programming schedule of Horsin' Around TV. Dave Gutfreund, the show's regular Thoroughbred analyst, and the Daily Racing Form's Marcus Hersh will join producer and host Joe Kristufek to break down Hawthorne's key Triple Crown prep.
Closing widest of all from dead last, favored Mystery Giver and jockey Carlos Marquez Jr. gave Team Block a stirring half-length victory in the $150,000 Robert F. Carey Memorial Handicap (gr. IIIT) on the Hawthorne Park turf Saturday.
Reigning Illinois Horse of the Year Mystery Giver headlines the list of probables for the 21st running of the Robert F. Carey Memorial Handicap on Saturday at Hawthorne.
The 27-day "Fall Festival of Racing" kicks off at historic Churchill Downs Sunday with a battle of middle distance stars in the $150,000-added Ack Ack Handicap (gr. III).
Bessemer Trust Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) contender Cactus Ridge posted a strong workout at Hawthorne Race Course on Saturday morning, finishing his half-mile drill in :49 2/5.
Grade I stakes winner Honor in War carries top impost of 120 pounds while heading a field of 11 turf specialists entered in Saturday's $250,000 Arlington Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Arlington Park.
Richard L. Duchossois' homebred Apt to Be took the lead turning for home and drew off for an easy seven-length score in the $100,000 Hanshin Cup Sunday (gr. III) at Arlington Park.
Team Block's Ioya Two, who thrilled Thoroughbred racing fans twice last summer at Arlington Park with courageous victories, has been retired and will leave this week for her upcoming career as a broodmare.
Arlington Park hosted the Prairie State Festival on June 22--five races restricted to horses bred in Illinois.
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