John B. Connally Breeders' Cup Turf H. (gr. III)
(gr. IIIT , 9f ,)
El Prado (IRE) Fort Pond , by Fortunate Prospect
BDavid P. Block, IL.; OTeam Block; TJeff Trosclair
Dynaformer Sovereign Mistress , by Sovereign Dancer
BJoseph E. Haller, KY.; OPhyllis Haller; TJohn Good
Farma Way Fling Ding , by Jungle Savage
BNorth Central Bloodstock, KY.; OFrank F. Jedlicki; TBernell B. Rhone
Margins: 3, neck, ¾. Others: Waupaca 115($13,380) , A R Crackers 115($6,690) , Prince T. 114 , Rapid Proof 117 , Seainsky 112 , Twilight Vision 116 , Toratora 109 , Doctor Doctor Mrmd 114 . Winning Jockey, Robby Albarado.
There are few grass horses on the 2006 scene running as well as Team Block’s venerable 5-year-old homebred Fort Prado. His top form shows three straight stakes wins on the year after drawing away by three lengths in the John B. Connally Breeders’ Cup Turf Handicap (gr. IIIT) April 8 at Sam Houston Race Park.
Trainer Jeff Trosclair saddles the son of El Prado for regular trainer Chris Block when the horse ships south out of his Chicago base. Trosclair also filled in when Fort Prado exited the Fair Grounds Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) held at Louisiana Downs with a neck win in January.
Team Block and its Block Thoroughbred Farm is the family operation of David and Patricia Block, their son Chris, and his wife, Linda; their son Ryan, and his wife, Jeana; and their daughter, Dena. Together they manage a 100-acre farm near Philo, Ill., where they keep 11 broodmares, and an 85-acre lay-up and training facility near Morriston, Fla., where their yearling spend the winter before joining Chris Block’s Illinois-based training stable.
Florida-bred Fort Pond, by Fortunate Prospect, the dam of Fort Prado, earned $135,769 in 27 career starts. Sprinting for her breeder, Norton D. Waltuch, and trainer Hubert Hine, Fort Pond won the 1994 Prom Stakes over the Meadowlands turf at two and the Blue Sparkler Stakes on the main track at Monmouth the following year.
David Block, a Champagne, Ill.-area restaurateur, and his wife, purchased Fort Pond at the 1999 Keeneland November mixed sale in foal to Forest Wildcat. Consigned to that auction by Fred Seitz, agent, they paid $200,000 for her. Though no foal was recorded from that mating, her first foal, the Forest Wildcat colt Army Cat, was a three-time winner at Charles Town.
In 2002, Fort Pond produced the Storm Creek filly Murky Waters, a Team Block homebred and two-time winner in 2005. She has an unraced 3-year-old Pine Bluff filly, Trigger Happy, a yearling filly by Lost Soldier, and is expecting a Langfuhr foal in April.
“Fort Prado’s siblings have not moved forward like he has yet,” said Chris Block. “The Pine Bluff filly had some minor physical problems and needs to develop and grow a little more, but we have high expectations for the Lost Soldier filly.”
Block said his father chooses Fort Pond’s matings.
“The thinking with Langfuhr was that he gets exceptional racehorses—both dirt and turf, sprint and route—a lot like El Prado, though certainly not quite as accomplished as he.”
El Prado, sire of 58 other stakes winners, is also represented this season by Senor Swinger and Princess Pelona. The 17-year-old son of Sadler’s Wells stands at Frank Stronach’s Adena Springs Kentucky near Midway. His 2006 fee is $125,000.—P.V.S.