(T 5.5f ,)
El Prado (IRE) Fort Pond , by Fortunate Prospect
BDavid P. Block, IL.; OTeam Block; TChris M. Block
T. D. Vance
Rahy Freedom of Speech , by Danzig
BTAC Holdings, Inc., KY.; OCourtlandt Farms; TH. Graham Motion
Atticus Christy Love , by Unbridled
BCentaur Farms, Inc., KY.; OCentaur Farms, Inc. and Lynch, Dan; TMerrill R. Scherer
Margins: head, ¾, 1¼. Others: Ever a Friend 118($5,630) , Hold the Salt 120($3,378) , Raedonald 118 , Rock Chalk 118 , Warrior Within 118 , Timeaftertimeafter 118 , Country Manners 116 . Winning Jockey, Rene R. Douglas.
Fort Prado has been a hard-knocking campaigner for Team Block since his maiden win in March of 2004, and he put another feather in his cap when he won the Woodford Stakes over the turf at Keeneland Oct. 18. Overcoming a bad start, the 6-year-old son of El Prado rallied in the stretch and took to the inside near the finish, winning the 51¼2-furlong sprint by a head in 1:03.20.
Fort Prado displayed his versatility in the Woodford and a recent five-furlong optional claiming win at Arlington Park. Previously, he raced at distances of one mile in the Sea O Erin Handicap and 11¼16 miles in the Black Tie Affair Handicap, which he won by a nose July 7.
“He’s a very classy horse with a lot of desire to go out there and do whatever you want him to do,” trainer Chris Block said. “We’ve always thought we’d like to sprint him on the grass, but we’ve never taken advantage of the opportunity since he’s been so successful around two turns. My father (David Block) has been encouraging this for a couple of years and so we tried it.”
“He didn’t seem like he was finishing his races that were a mile or longer,” said David Block, breeder of Fort Prado. “When he was a 4- or 5-year-old he would have a real good burst of speed the last quarter of a mile. He never would win by much, but he always had the acceleration, and it seemed like he lost some of that punch. We thought we’d give him a shot to get back.”
David Block purchased Fort Prado’s dam, the Fortunate Prospect mare Fort Pond, in foal to Forest Wildcat, from Fred Seitz, agent, at the 1999 Keeneland November breeding stock sale for $200,000. Fort Pond had raced to black-type victories over dirt and turf, and campaigned until she was a 6-year-old. Block was attracted to her race record, speed figures, and correct conformation. He also liked the fact that she was back in foal to Forest Wildcat after dropping a Forest Wildcat colt earlier that year. Unfortunately, she miscarried the Forest Wildcat foal, so Block bred her to El Prado in 2000.
“I liked the Northern Dancer pedigree over the Mr. Prospector line,” said David Block. “At that time I also got a package deal with Adena Springs and bred four mares that year to four different stallions, and she was one of the mares I put in the deal.”
Fort Pond is the dam of six foals, four to race, all winners. Her first foal, the Forest Wildcat colt Army Cat, won three races. Her next foal, Fort Prado, owns a 16-5-3 record from 37 starts. Her 2002 Storm Creek filly Murky Waters won twice, as did the Pine Bluff filly Trigger Happy, foaled in 2003. She is the dam of an unraced 2-year-old Lost Soldier filly, named Summerlin, and a yearling Langfuhr colt. She is back in foal to El Prado at Team Block Farm near Champagne, Ill.
El Prado is the sire of 63 stakes winners. Among his six 2007 added-money winners are Asi Siempre (gr. III), Dreaming of Liz (gr. III), and Lord Admiral (Ire-III). El Prado, an 18-year-old son of Sadler’s Wells, stood the 2007 season at Adena Springs Farm near Paris, Ky., for a stud fee of $125,000.—C.N.