Sterling, Janks Highlight Prairie State Festival

(from Arlington Park report)
Jockey Larry Sterling Jr. scored a double in the seventh annual Prairie State Festival, Arlington Park's six-race showcase for Illinois-bred Thoroughbreds. Both of the the veteran local rider's victories came on horses he was not originally slated to ride.

Sterling, 36, won the $86,350 Springfield Stakes aboard Tally Up, subbing in that spot for the injured Chris Emigh, who was hurt in a spill on Wednesday. Two races later, he scored in the $87,900 Lincoln Heritage Handicap with Ms. Lydonia, a pick-up mount for trainer Christine Janks who had originally named Francisco Torres to ride. Torres rode Modjadji, Janks' other horse in the race.

Nancy Vanier & Cartwright Thoroughbred V LLC's Tally Up rallied three wide into the stretch, took the lead with more than a furlong left to run and held off 2-1 favorite Barely Union Scale to win the Springfield Stakes by a half-length. The Brian Williamson-trained son of Service Stripe got the mile in 1:36.59.

Tally Up paid $10.40, $5 and $3.80. Barely Union Scale returned $3.80 and $2.60. Wildwood Hat Trick paid $3.20.

The Estate of William Lydon & Carson Spring Farm's Ms. Lydonia used a ground-saving trip en route to a neck victory in the Lincoln Heritage. The daughter of Labeeb covered the 1 1/16-mile distance over firm turf in 1:42.99. Coupled in the wagering with Modjadji, who finished third in the 11-horse field, the Janks-trained entry returned $5.80, $3.20 and $3.80.

You Dancing Devil rallied from mid-pack to run second and paid $4.40 and $3.60.

For the second year in year in a row, Janks' runners captured multiple races on the Prairie State Festival card. In addition to winning the Lincoln Heritage, the longtime conditioner saddled High Expectations to take the $85,700 White Oak Handicap by a length under a well-timed ride by Francisco Torres, getting the six furlongs in a brisk 1:08.89.

High Expectations, who also won the 2005 Springfield Stakes, was the second choice in the betting and paid $6.60, $4.20, and $3. Iron Rouge finished second in the 9-horse field and returned $11.80 and $6.80. It was another neck back to Just See James, who paid $5.60.

Rolling Sea, a recent purchase by Millennium Farm, upset heavily favored Rich Fantasy and reigning Illinois Horse of the Year Original Spin in the $87,700 Purple Violet Stakes. The Steve Asmussen-trained daughter of Sefapiano covered the mile over a fast track in 1:36.41 under jockey Robby Albarado.

Rich Fantasy, the 13-10 favorite, rallied to run second. It was another length back to Unreal Rocket, who finished third in the 12-horse field of 3-year-old fillies. Original Spin ran sixth.

Rolling Sea paid $18.60, $6 and $4.80. Rich Fantasy paid $3.40 and $2.80. Unreal Rocket paid $5.

It wouldn't be a Prairie State Festival without a victory from the barn of trainer Chris Block, who has saddled more of the event's winners than anyone. Team Block's Fort Prado returned from injury to successfully defend his title in the $86,400 Black Tie Affair Handicap with a neck tally over Majestic Zeal. With Albarado aboard for his second win of the day, the son of El Prado covered the 1 1/16-mile journey over firm turf in 1:42.18.

The prohibitive 2-5 favorite, Fort Prado paid $2.80, $2.40, and $2.10. Majestic Zeal returned $9.80 and $7.60. Home of Stars ran third in the 10-horse field and paid $5.20.

In the day's other stakes race, Bob & Nancy Bartels' Bluesbdancing overcame traffic trouble at the top of the stretch to win the $82,050 Isaac Murphy Handicap by a neck over the fast-closing 4-5 favorite Pretty Jenny. The Terrel Gore-trained daughter of Golden Gear was clocked in 1:10.26 for the six furlongs over a fast track.

Sent off as the 2-1 second choice under Eusebio Razo Jr., Bluesbdancing paid $6.60, $2.60, and $2.20. Pretty Jenny returned $2.20 and $2.10. Denoun N Deverb paid $2.60.

(Chart, Equibase)