06/27/2012 4:11PM

Arlington Park: Team Block putting new filly on turf


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. – The last time Team Block bought an East Coast-based filly as a turf-racing and broodmare prospect, things worked out fairly well. Never Retreat, purchased early in 2009, went on to win nine races – five in graded-stakes competition – and more than $1 million for Team Block before being retired after her 2012 season. Now comes All for Thee, who Team Block bought at auction last November and who makes her first start for her new connections in the featured third race Friday at Arlington.

All for Thee, one of seven fillies and mares in a high-end one-mile turf allowance race also open to $80,000 claimers, won 3 of 6 starts last year at age 3, capturing the Go for Wand at Delaware before finishing third to St. John’s River in the Delaware Oaks. By Elusive Quality and out of the Affirmed mare Primetimevalentine, All for Thee has a pedigree that struck her new owners as turf- or synthetic-slanted, but All for Thee raced only on dirt last year.

“We’re kind of anxious to see what happens to her out on the turf Friday,” said trainer Chris Block.

All for Thee hasn’t raced since August, and while she has kept a steady work pattern and Block regularly wins with long-layoff comeback runners, the trainer said All for Thee might not show her best Friday.

“Everything has gone well getting her prepared, but I don’t know that I’ve got her tuned 100 percent,” Block said.

Among All for Thee’s primary rivals is Ruthville, another horse making her first start since last summer. Ruthville won twice at Arlington last season, once on Polytrack and once on turf, but her form had tailed off my midsummer, and owner Arthur Hancock elected to give Ruthville and extended period of farm rest.

“Arthur’s the sort of person, if the horse isn’t right, you just send them home,” said trainer Michael Stidham. “There wasn’t anything wrong with her, but he leaves them out there until they’re good and ready to come in.”

Ruthville, a small light-framed horse, sports an encouraging work pattern for her comeback, and Stidham believes she’s fit and ready to turn in a representative effort.

Pathway looks best among those with a recent start, though her dead-heat second-place finish in an Illinois-bred turf stakes last time did not showcase an especially strong finishing kick.