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Prairie State Festival Preview

Welcome to the Chicago Dark Horse’s preview of the Prairie State Festival of racing at Arlington Park this Saturday!  The weather forecast calls for beautiful, sunny skies and a high of 76 degrees!  A perfect day for racing. 

Let’s break down the six feature races of the day!

Race 2 – White Oak Handicap – 6 furlongs – Polytrack – 3 years old and up

The first Illinois state-bred stakes of the day features male sprinters going six furlongs on the all-weather.  Morning line favorite Shrewd Operator makes his 2011 debut for top Illinois trainer Chris Block.  This five-time winner on Arlington’s polytrack has been working very well as of late and should contend.  Wayne Catalano ships in Capt. Bullet Bob from Churchill Downs who won his last race by an astounding 21 lengths!!  3-1 choice Mighty Rule, no stranger to the White Oak Handicap, has finished second and third in his last two attempts at this race.  He comes off an Illinois-bred stakes win at Hawthorne and has a bullet work at four furlongs on June 11th.  Expect plenty of pace in this race as we see which front runner can hold on for the win.

Race 4 – Isaac Murphy Handicap – 6 furlongs – Polytrack – fillies and mares – 3 years old and up

Now the girls get a turn to sprint on Arlington’s all-weather track.  Corey Nakatani gets the mount for Christine Janks on 5-2 morning line favorite Cruise.  She not only has an Illinois-bred stakes win two back at Hawthorne, but has also been working very well as of late.  Janks has her in a good spot here.  Second choice Rose Mountain, impressive in her last win closing from 6+ lengths, has Tim Thornton riding again for Frank Kirby.  She should contend in this race.  Finally, a personal favorite of mine, Royal Posh who has won four in a row and five of her last six comes back to race after only a week off.  Trainer Mark Cristel must be very confident in her chances here, as am I. 

Race 6 – Purple Violet Stakes – 1 mile – Polytrack – fillies – 3 years old

The fillies stretch out to one mile here in the Purple Violet.  Richie Scherer sends out morning line favorite Our Lady In Red who finished third in her last outing against tough company at Presque Isle Downs.  Her previous two races were both state-bred victories at Hawthorne in April.  5-1 choice Seans Silverdancer with Tim Thornton aboard did not factor in her last at Fair Grounds but don’t be fooled.  She has two victories as a two year old including a huge 9 ½ length victory in the Debutante at Hawthorne in December.  She has been working very well and should be in the mix.  My favorite jockey Chris Emigh gets the mount on Goldway who broke her maiden by six lengths on the turf last time out. 

Race 7 – Springfield Stakes – 1 mile – Polytrack – 3 years old

Here are the boys taking on the one turn mile.  Chris Block with normal jockey Eddie Perez take their shot on morning line favorite Mavericking.  This horse won a state-bred allowance by two lengths last time out and has been working very well as of late.  He appears to be the class of the field here.  Lightly raced Nagys Piggy Bank stretches out after breaking his maiden at six furlongs in his last race.  Top trainer Scott Becker gives the mount to Corey Nakatani here and I expect this horse to close in from off the pace. 

Race 9 – Lincoln Heritage Handicap – 1 1/16 miles – Turf – fillies and mares – 3 years old and up

Aaahhh, the Arlington turf course.  Isn’t it wonderful??  Acres and acres of the finest grass in the land… OK I digress…

Chris Block trained Dundalk Dust is two for three on the Arlington turf course and is your 7-5 morning line favorite.  While she didn’t fare well at the Fair Grounds in her last she is a perfect three for three against Illinois-bred horses.  This horse has won five of her eight races and will definitely hit the board here.  Block’s other entry Arlington favorite Peyote Patty will be on or near the lead and should also be in the mix in this race.  She has hit the board thirteen times and has a first and second place finish on the Arlington turf course.  Christine Janks and Corey Nakatani team up on Pathway who has three wins on the turf course and has won seven out of twenty races overall. 

Last but not least…

Race 10 – THE Black Tie Affair Handicap – 1 1/16 miles – Turf – 3 years old and up

Great field of contenders here!!!  This will definitely be the race of the day!  Jozbin Santana rides 3-1 morning line favorite Princeville Condo who had a great showing in his last only missing by one length and fired a bullet work on June 18th breezing six furlongs in 1:12 flat.  This horse is an Arlington turf machine winning four of ten and hitting the board nine of those ten times!!  Another local favorite of mine, Tazz, has been improving well as a five year old, winning his last race for Christine Janks.  He is coming off a lifetime best Beyer of 95!  Tom Dorris sends Chicago favorite Denham as the 5-1 choice in this race.  Denham has won an amazing five races in a row and ten of his last twelve!  WOW!  Denham also has four wins out of six turf races.  Another horse not to be discounted is Chris Block’s Hoodwinked who is a perfect two for two in state-bred turf races.

So there you have it folks! A sneak preview of some of the top talent racing this Saturday at Arlington’s Prairie State Festival!  Enjoy and I will be posting the recap after the races.  Best of luck to all!

And don't forget about the Galloping Out event after the exciting day of races!!!


What the Nation is saying about Prairie State Festival Preview...

I'm late to the party here...but this preview if I remember right has you picking just about every single winner of the day in the 6 races you cover here. I'm no handicapper extraordinaire or anything but that's some pretty solid cappin' my friend! Way to hit it out of the park (thought this fit well for todays photo excursion I got to go on through the text line!) ;)
Gotta love the Illinois breds! No Giant Oak, but still a bunch of nice horses ... looking for Dundalk Dust to make some more noise nationally this year, and I still think Seans Silverdancer is one to watch out for. I wish I was there with you, Chris!

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 (Whoa - the DARK HORSE)
Greetings and welcome to my "dark" blog!  I have been a fan of horse racing since I was about 12 years old.  Growing up in Minnesota, my dad would take me and my brothers to Canterbury Downs and I would practically beg to go every weekend!!  I made my first "big" score there hitting the win, place, and exacta in the same race at age 14 (pulled in $84 with horses named Railroad Red and Racers Dream!).  I also had a poster in my bedroom of Lost Code winning the 1987 St. Paul Derby!

I followed racing all through the remainder of high school and college in Illinois, paying close attention to the likes of Lost Code, Alysheba, Cryptoclearance, Risen Star, Sunday Silence, and Tabasco Cat.  I spent every possible moment at Arlington Park with my dad, taking time to develop computer programs (on Lotus 1-2-3 for DOS) to try to find patterns and handicap races more accurately.  My dad taught me a lot about handicapping races, paying particular attention to class moves!

I'm more of a fan of racing now than ever before, and have made a lot of friends in, and because of, the industry.  For that I am eternally grateful!  Once being deemed the second best racing ambassador in Chicago (hey I've been called worse),
I now reside in the Richmond, Virginia area and will be covering many different aspects of racing - DARK HORSE STYLE!  My goal for this blog is to get people more interested in horse racing while focusing on my home(s) away from home, the race tracks of America! My favorite tracks are Arlington, Colonial, Canterbury, Del Mar, Gulfstream, Hawthorne, and Keeneland!
At the end of the day though, I'm just a regular guy who loves horse racing a whole lot.   It is my honor to be a part of the Horse Racing Nation team and I truly hope you enjoy this blog. 

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