|TAMPA BAY BREEDERS' CUP S.|
Won at 5TAMPA BAY BREEDERS' CUP S.
(T 8.5f , defeating Icy Atlantic, Interpatation, Spring House, Ballonenostrikes, Cherokee Prince, Foreverness, Dynareign, Above the Wind, Major Parker, Seeking Answers (IRE), Remind ).
2006 is shaping up nicely, not only for the Block family of Philo, Ill., whose star runner Fort Prado drew off with his second stakes win of the season in the Feb. 25 Tampa Bay Breeders’ Cup Stakes, but also for their 14-year-old mare Fort Pond, known to receive special rations on those evenings when her El Prado-sired 5-year-old does the stable proud.
Team Block and its Block Thoroughbred Farm is the family-run 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 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 trainer Chris Block’s Illinois stable.
Philo lies just southeast of Champagne, one of the Illinois cities where David Block owns a chain of restaurants. Block said he uses his culinary skills to give Fort Pond—whom he described as “powerfully built” and with “Quarter Horse qualities”—a bonus-filled feed tub after Fort Prado captures a stakes. Fort Prado captured the Fair Grounds Breeders’ Cup Handicap (gr. IIIT) at Louisiana Downs Jan. 21.
Florida-bred Fort Pond, a daughter of Fortunate Prospect, earned $135,769 in her 27 career starts. Sprinting for her breeder, Norton D. Waltuch, and trainer Hubert Hine, Fort Pond won the 1994 Prom Stakes over the Meadowland turf at two and the Blue Sparkler Stakes on the main track at Monmouth at three. Her 1995 campaign helped Fortunate Prospect earn honors as Florida’s leading sire of that year.
David and Patricia Block 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 last season. Fort Pond has a yearling filly by Lost Soldier foaled last February, and is expecting a Langfuhr foal in April.
Irish-bred El Prado is the sire of 59 stakes winners, including Senor Swinger, winner of the Feb. 8 Thunder Road Handicap at Santa Anita. 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.
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