Updated on 09/17/2011 10:42PM

Fort Prado too good for peers

Email
Benoit Photo
Fort Prado wins the $86,950 Black Tie Affair Handicap by 1 3/4 lengths at Arlington Park on Saturday.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - With each race, Fort Prado inches closer toward fitting into Mystery Giver's shoes.

Mystery Giver, bred and owned by Team Block and trained by Chris Block, was the top Illinois-bred turf horse for several seasons, but he went down with an injury in last summer's Arlington Million and may or may not race again. But Fort Prado, another Block homebred, has stepped up and delivered. Saturday, he capped the six-stakes Prairie State Festival for Illinois-breds with a sharp win in the $86,950 Black Tie Affair Handicap, the same race in which Mystery Giver was upset last season.

Fort Prado ($4) has an unusual appearance. He's gray, but his hair is very fine through his lower chest and onto his forelegs, giving him the almost pinkish hue of equine skin. He also has an unusually flashy turn of foot.

"You can see that acceleration when he gets to the head of the lane," Block said.

Jockey Eddie Razo put Fort Prado in a position to use his kick, sneaking up the rail on the backstretch as a pair of longhots carved out an honest pace, 47.12 seconds to the half. Fort Prado was loaded at the quarter pole; when a seam opened 50 yards past it, he shot through and was gone, beating Scooter Roach by 1 3/4 lengths, with second-choice Home of Stars third. Fort Prado was timed in a strong 1:41.72 for 1 1/16 miles on firm turf.

Pretty Jenny still unbeaten

Meadow Bride, a talented 3-year-old filly in her own right, took a run at Pretty Jenny three-eighths of a mile from the finish of the $86,200 Purple Violet for 3-year-old fillies.

Nothing doing.

So far, no horse has been able to get past Pretty Jenny in the stretch. Pretty Jenny sprinted away from Meadow Bride,

winning the Purple Violet by 5 1/2 lengths to remain unbeaten after four starts.

Meadow Bride easily held second, with Li'lbitosunshine third. Pretty Jenny ($4.20), who races for W. Lydon, Arbaway Farm, and Carson Springs Farm, was timed in 1:37.04 for a mile in her first try beyond a sprint distance.

"I was a little worried about the distance and the heat," said jockey Chris Emigh. "But at the quarter pole, she had her ears up and

I had plenty of horse. Unless there was a super horse, they weren't going to beat her."

Take Achance on Me too fast

Take Achance on Me took a long van ride from Maryland to run in the $83,350 White Oak Handicap, and he wasted little time getting down to business, opening a big early lead before holding on to win by a head over the hard-charging Big Bold Sweep.

Take Achance on Me, trained by Mike Trombetta for owner W.D. Everett, won the Chicagoland Handicap at Hawthorne this past spring by two lengths, and he ran his pace rivals off their feet Saturday with a 45.17-second opening half-mile. Left in his wake was Silver Bid, last year's sprint kingpin, who failed to keep up early and finished a distant third, as Take Achance on Me and Emigh charged into the stretch ahead by more than two lengths.

Take Achance on Me ($4.40) ran six furlongs in a fast 1:09.60.

Right choice for Jaguar City

Trainer Bobby Springer entered Jaguar City in two races Saturday, and had to choose between the Isaac Murphy and the Lincoln Heritage on the stakes smorgasbord. He made the right call. Switching tactics, and racing from off the pace after going to the lead in her last several sprint starts, Jaguar City and jockey James Graham switched from the rail to the outside turning for home and charged to the front to win the $85,000 Isaac Murphy by one length.

Jaguar City paid $3.60 as the heavy favorite and was timed in 1:10.82 for six furlongs. Miss Outrageous finished second, Piano Tunner third.

Beau Happy just lasts

Beau Happy survived a tight photo finish to win her stakes debut, beating Arsen Annie by a nose in the $88,400 Lincoln Heritage.

Beau Happy stalked a quick pace down the backstretch, and jockey Jesse Campbell let her run while racing three wide around the far turn. Beau Happy took a clear lead in midstretch, but her run was about finished at the wire, and Arsen Annie nearly nailed her.

Beau Happy, trained by Mike Stidham for the Quarter B Farm, paid $8.40 to win, and was timed in 1:43.17 for 1 1/16 miles. Cashmere Miss finished third.

- Jesse Campbell won his 1,000th career race, as High Expectations scored an easy victory in the $88,900 Springfield Stakes, giving trainer Christine Janks two stakes win on the Prairie State Festival. High Expectations ($9.20) beat Northern Gent by 1 3/4 lengths, with Sir Winzalot third.