12/14/2005 1:00AM

Creative Force another Block baby


CHICAGO - Chris Block doesn't push his young horses. "I'm not a 2-year-old trainer," he said.

One wouldn't know it this December at Hawthorne. Block almost won the Pat Whitworth Illinois Debutante here last weekend with the 2-year-old filly Cause She's Crafty, and on Saturday he starts the promising 2-year-old colt Creative Force in the Jim Edgar Illinois Futurity.

A field of at least nine is expected for the $100,000 Futurity. The unbeaten Last Gran Standing figures to be favored, with Silver Titan and Creative Force perhaps the next two choices. Also expected are Barely Union Scale, Class N Charm, Heaven's Hope, K D Mac, Princeton Hills, and Tally Up.

Block doesn't push young, immature horses, and Creative Force has taken himself to this spot. A son of Red Ransom bred by Block's family, Creative Force was sent from the Blocks' farm in Florida to the

racetrack in late summer and has progressed steadily. Bred for turf, he debuted on grass and made a good late run to finish second on Nov. 3 at Hawthorne. Then, with the futurity in mind, Creative Force switched to dirt in a Nov. 26 Illinois-bred maiden race. Creative Force broke from

post 11, but looped the field on the far turn and won by more than five lengths.

"He's a big, good-looking guy, and he's got some potential," Block said.

But Creative Force, Block said, doesn't fit the stereotype of a long-bodied, goofy-minded 2-year-old route horse. While Block feels Creative Force "is still yet learning what the hell is going on out there," Creative Force seems smart enough, and has solved the puzzles thrust at him so far.

"He's got a good frame of mind, and I'd say that's probably what's helped him get to this point," said Block. "To make it to this late in December, they've got to have a pretty good mind. A lot of guys will say,

'I know this horse has some potential, but let's give him some time and let him get it together for next year.' That's what my mind-set is with 2-year-olds. I feel like we'll be taking a step backwards if we push too hard."

Meanwhile, in Florida, Mystery Giver, out of action since he was injured in the 2004 Arlington Million, continues to push toward a comeback race, and Block said Feb. 1 is the target date for his return.

"With each breeze he gets more interested, more aggressive," Block said.

Horsemen's splinter group to meet

A group of disaffected members of the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association has called a meeting for Saturday at 10 a.m. in Hawthorne's track kitchen.

A rift within the ITHA formed this past summer, when some members, including former officials within the organization, challenged the ITHA administration's decision to extend the association's election cycle from two years to three. The return of three-year terms, which the ITHA used until the mid-1990's, pushed back elections from this year to 2006. Changes in the election process were recommended by the ITHA's independent auditor as a money-saving measure, and were unanimously approved by the association's board in early 2005. Board members, along with president Joe Kasperski and executive director Justin Cassity, say ITHA bylaws allow such changes. The dissenting group contends that the bylaws require the changes to be voted on by the general membership.

Legal teams representing the official ITHA membership and the group challenging them have exchanged communications, but so far no formal legal action has been taken.

The ITHA plans to hold an official general membership meeting sometime in the next several weeks. Survey cards have been mailed to members asking if the next election should be held in 2005, early in 2006, or as planned in the fall of next year. Those survey cards were to have been returned to the ITHA by Dec. 15.

- An entry-level sprint allowance, the seventh of nine races, is featured on Hawthorne's Friday card. Closers Riverson, Magic Jade, and Silver Castle will try to run down pace players Budini and Conquistador's Cat.