Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup H. (gr. III)
(gr. IIIT , 8.5f ,)
El Prado (IRE) Fort Pond , by Fortunate Prospect
BDavid P. Block, IL.; OTeam Block; TJeff Trosclair
Honor Grades Kylie's Pride , by Spend a Buck
BHedgewood Farm, KY.; OTeam Valor International; TRalph E. Nicks
(DK B/ h,
Forest Wildcat Champagne Cakes , by Cormorant
BDr. E. W. Thomas, KY.; OWayne R. Sanders; TDonnie K. Von Hemel
In a barn in Illinois on the night of Jan. 21, David Block’s 14-year-old mare Fort Pond got some special treatment in appreciation for a job well done.
“I fed her exceptionally well last night,” said Block, a restaurateur and head of Team Block, whose homebred Fort Prado earlier that day scored by a neck in the Fair Grounds Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Harrah’s Louisiana Downs. “And I did it again this morning. I just came down to earth.”
Team Block is the Philo, Ill.-based 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. The family operates a 100-acre farm near Philo where they keep 11 broodmares, and an 85-acre training and lay-up facility near Morriston, Fla., where their yearlings spend the winter before joining Chris Block’s Illinois stable.
Team Block homebred Mystery Giver, recuperating from a serious injury, raced to three straight Fair Grounds Breeders’ Cup Handicaps from 2002-04 carrying the farm’s green and yellow-blocked silks.
“We’re right about where we want to be with our program,” said David Block. “When we bought the Florida farm four years ago, our goal was to do what was right for the horses the entire year, and it seems like it’s starting to pay off.
“Locally, we’ve been limited by the lack of training facilities and the weather,” Block said. “We have a seven-eighths-mile turf training track, and our horses gallop over it every day. I think it’s why we get a lot of turf runners.”
David and Patricia bought the stakes-winning Fort Pond for $200,000 at the 1999 Keeneland November mixed sale from the consignment of Fred Seitz, agent. The Fortunate Prospect mare was in foal to Forest Wildcat at the time of the purchase.
Block said Florida-bred Fort Pond, who captured the Prom Stakes on the Meadowlands turf at two and the five-furlong Blue Sparkler Stakes at Monmouth Park at three, was a mare with Quarter Horse qualities.
“She’s very powerfully built,” said Block. “She’s got her speed from Fortunate Prospect, and Fort Prado has a burst of acceleration that he has used to his advantage to win races. I think she threw that speed to him.”
Block said Fort Pond’s yearling filly by Lost Soldier, foaled last February, was “looking good—a big, strapping filly.”
Fort Pond is expecting a Langfuhr foal in April.
Irish-bred El Prado is the sire of 59 stakes winners. He was represented by 12 stakes winners in 2005, including Artie Schiller, winner of the NetJets Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT), and dual grade I winner Borrego. A 17-year-old son of Sadler’s Wells, El Prado stands at Frank Stronach’s Adena Springs Kentucky near Midway. His 2006 fee is $125,000.—P.V.S.