Fort Prado , who raced for Team Block in Illinois for seven seasons, has sired his first winner from his freshman crop.
Team Block's Afortable, a handsome gray 2-year-old colt with a sharp resemblance to his sire, debuted Sept. 13 in a one-mile maiden special weight on the Arlington Park turf and went last-to-first despite a slow pace. Closing his final furlong in :23.77 under Eduardo Perez for trainer Chris Block, Afortable caught favored pacesetter Kwacha to prevail by a half-length (VIDEO).
The colt's win, in a time of 1:39.17, was a special one for the Blocks, who own Afortable in partnership with Thomas Fedro Sr. It was not only the first win by a stallion they raced and still fully own, but it was also their first win by a homebred whose parents were also homebred.
Fort Prado quickly came back with his second winner when Sunshine Caris took the opening race at Arlington Sept. 14, a maiden claiming event also at one mile on grass (VIDEO). Sunshine Caris, a homebred for Tom Lauritsen, is trained by Doug Matthews.
A war horse who started 59 times overall, including 25 times at Arlington, Fort Prado won more than $1.2 million and won 14 stakes. Of those, eight were at Arlington, including a stakes win on all three surfaces and in four editions of the Black Tie Affair Handicap.
In the process, the son of emerging sire-of-sires El Prado (father to quality stallions Medaglia d'Oro and Kitten's Joy ) won eight Illinois championships: 3-Year-Old Colt (2004), Horse of the Year (2006) and three each of Older Handicap Horse (2005-2007) and Turf Male (2005-2007).
"The win really means a lot," said Block. "We raced and bred him ourselves and he was quite a wonderful racehorse for our stable for many years. To have him go on as a stallion and be successful and get (his) career started with his first win—especially with a homebred—it's really special."
Fort Prado, a 12-year-old, stood the 2013 season for $5,000 at Buck Pond Farm in Versailles, Ky.
The dam of Afortable is the stakes-winning mare Taxable Deduction, a daughter of Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) winner Prized. In the shed, she has been nothing short of superb for the Blocks, producing stakes winners Leading Astray, Suntracer, Corrupt, and Free Fighter. It was one year ago that the now-retired Leading Astray won the Pucker Up (gr. IIIT) for the Blocks. On Sept. 14, the peaking Suntracer will go off as one of the favorites in the $400,000 Kentucky Turf Cup (gr. IIIT) at Kentucky Downs.
Afortable reminds Block of his siblings in many ways. "The way he moves on the racetrack is similar to a lot of them," he said. "Also, the way he comes along in his training and moves forward. He's a little more focused and ahead of the game than some of the others. He's quite typical, otherwise, very focused and smart."
The promising colt will likely shift south to Kentucky as the Arlington meet draws to a close.
"We're more than likely headed to Keeneland," Block said. "We'll look for a conditioned allowance."
The trainer also did not rule out attempting the Bourbon Stakes (gr. IIIT), a Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT) "Win and You're In" event, but considers it much less likely.