Illinois champions Dundalk Dust and River Bear are
prominent among the 56 horses who passed the entry box Wednesday for the six
$100,000-added stakes races that comprise the 12th annual Prairie
State Festival to be held Saturday, June 25, at Arlington Park.
The six races that make up the showcase for state-breds are:
The Black Tie Affair Handicap for 3-year-olds & upward at a mile and
a sixteenth on the turf
The Isaac Murphy Handicap for fillies & mares, 3-year-olds &
upward at six furlongs on Polytrack
Heritage Handicap for fillies & mares 3-year-olds & upward at a mile
and a sixteenth on the turf
The Purple Violet Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on Polytrack
The White Oak Handicap for 3-year-olds & upward at six furlongs on
Stakes for 3-year-olds at one mile on Polytrack
Dundalk 5 LLC’s Dundalk Dust, champion 3-year-old filly and
champion turf female, will shoulder top impost of 122 pounds in the Lincoln
Heritage. The Chris Block-trained daughter of Military is unraced since a
seventh-place finish in the $100,000 New Orleans Ladies Stakes at the Fair
Grounds in March. Last year, she ventured into open company and captured
the Grade II Falls City Handicap at Churchill Downs in November en route to her
Block also trains the race’s second highweight, Timothy
Keeley’s Peyote Patty, who was assigned 121 pounds. Winless since
capturing the 2009 Illinois Owners’ Stakes here, the 6-year-old daughter of
Cactus Ridge was runner-up in this race last year and most recently ran fourth
after making the pace in an open company third-level allowance on May 22.
Dana Waier Thoroughbreds’ River Bear, champion male sprint
horse and winner of the 2009 White Oak, is among seven entered for this year’s
renewal as is the race’s defending champion Team Block’s Shrewd Operator.
However, highweighted for this year’s running is Scarlet Stable’s Mighty Rule,
winner of the $100,000 Robert S. Molaro Handicap at Hawthorne Race Course in
Kenneth Hutchens’ Denham seeks his sixth straight victory
as he will head to post as the 122-pound highweight in the Black Tie
Affair. The son of Unreal Zeal’s unbeaten streak extends to last December
and also includes a victory in the $100,000 Milwaukee Avenue Handicap on that
track’s Illinois Champions Day in April.
Among those the Tom Dorris trainee will face in the Black
Tie Affair are the race’s defending champion William Stiritz’ My Sonny Boy and
Grade III stakes winner Frank Mancari’s Free Fighter, claimed by his current
connections in March at Gulfstream
Carson Spring Farms’ Cruise, winner of the $100,000
Governor’s Lady Handicap at Hawthorne
in April, is the 122-pound highweight in the Isaac Murphy. The Christine
Janks-trained daughter of Posse comes into the race off a sixth-place finish in
open company in the $60,000 Prairie Rose Stakes in Iowa
on May 31.
Among those she’ll be facing in the Isaac Murphy are two
Frank Kirby-trained entrants: Gary & Beth Leverton’s Wild Hope, who
finished second to Cruise at Hawthorne last
out; and Hondo Ranch’s Rose
Mountain, a winner in an
open company allowance race over this course on May 28.
Prominent entrants in the Purple Violet Stakes include
stakes winners Third Chance, heroine of the $100,000 Showtime Deb Stakes at
Hawthorne and owned by Ron Magers, Roe Conn and Robert Marcocchio; Slapshot
Racing’s Seans Silverdancer, winner of the $100,000 Illinois Debutante at
Hawthorne last December; and Last Call Racing’s Our Lady in Red, who captured
the $100,000 Pretty Jenny Stakes in April.
The Springfield Stakes drew a field of 11 sophomores
including Virginia Tarra Trust’s Table Games, winner of the $100,000 Illinois
Futurity last December, and the stakes-placed Mavericking, owned by Team
Block. Both horses are trained by the Prairie State Festival’s leading
trainer Chris Block.