ARLINGTON HEIGHTS--There was a Block Party on Saturday afternoon at Arlington Park. Not the kind with balloons with music and grills, but with two stakes races. Each stakes race carried a pot of $100,000 and was restricted to horses with a majority ownership in Illinois. Each stakes race saw trainer Chris Block be the force behind the winner.
The open division of the stakes saw SUNTRACER get up in the last jump over MR. MISCHIEF. MR. MISCHIEF led every step except the last step carving out fractions of :24.44, :49.20, and 1:13.25. SUNTRACER made a last-to-first run, turning back to the ability he showed as a champion Illinois sophomore last year to collar MR. MISCHIEF in the final jump. PRINCEVILLE CONDO rounded out the trifecta.
After the race, winning trainer Chris Block reflected on the victory and decision to run here, eschewing next week's American St. Leger on Arlington Million Day.
“[Winning Jockey] Eddie [Perez] saved ground on both turns and made a big run. The horse has been moving forward with each start. He had an eye injury and now his confidence is back. This race [and not next week's American St. Leger] made more sense for SUNTRACER and it paid off.”
SUNTRACER (here just behind the leader) chasing down to take the first of two Illinois Owners Stakes. Photo courtesy Four Footed Fotos.
Eddie Perez piloted the four-year-old Kitten's Joy colt. SUNTRACER won by a nose in a final time of 1:44.46 over "good" turf and paid $6.20 to win as the 2-1 slight favorite. The two dollar 1-3 exacta of SUNTRACER and MR. MISCHIEF returned $23.00, the fifty cent 1-3-2 trifecta of SUNTRACER, MR. MISCHIEF, and PRINCEVILLE CONDO returned $16.20. Dime superfectas including the other Block-trained horse MAVERICKING netted winning bettors $16.42.
About ninety minutes later, the female division of the Illinois Owners Stake saw PEYOTE PATTY turns the tables on even money favorite CUMULONIMBLE, as the 1-4 finishers of the Lincoln Heritage handicap finished third and first, respectively. KATIE THE LADY (shown at right in the photo below) cut early slow fractions of :25.62, :51.04, and 1:14.87. PEYOTE PATTY stalked from second all the way around, took control in the stretch, and got up to win by a half-length under the guidance of Timothy Thornton. KATIE THE LADY held for second and even-money favorite CUMULONIMBLE rounded out the top three.
PEYOTE PATTY (right, white silks) takes the second Illinois Owners Stakes. Photo courtesy Four Footed Photos.
The seven-year-old daughter of Cactus Ridge covered the 1 1/16 miles on "good" turf in 1:45.18. Sent off at between 4-1 and 9-2, she rewarded backers to the tune of $10.60.
Said winning trainer Chris Block after the race, “I can’t say enough about this mare. She’s got the heart of a lion. She shows up every time. It’s like another day at the office for her. A lot of the credit goes to [winning jockey] Tim [Thornton]– he has such a great relationship with her.”
Two dollar 7-4 exactas of PEYOTE PATTY and KATIE THE LADY paid $50.20. Fifty cent 7-4-6 trifectas of PEYOTE PATTY, KATIE THE LADY, and CUMULONIMBLE netted winners $25.85. Dime 7-4-6-2 superfectas with HOOH WHY in fourth returned $11.89.
Special thanks to Sr. Communications Manager Dave Zenner for considerations.