06/21/2002 11:00PM

Mystery Giver carries family load


ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - An hour after Ioya Two lost her grip on the Illinois-bred female turf division, her younger brother staked a claim as the best statebred turf horse in training. Unraced since late March, Mystery Giver returned with a powerful win in the $75,000 Cardinal Handicap, beating 13 rivals.

The Cardinal Handicap was the feature race of the Prairie State Festival, comprising six $75,000 stakes for Illinois-breds Saturday at Arlington Park.

Both Mystery Giver and Ioya Two are out of the mare Ioya, who died while giving birth two years ago. Mystery Giver, bred by David and Patricia Block, owned by Team Block, and trained by Chris Block, is Ioya's next-to-last offspring, and in the end he may turn out even better than Ioya Two, who won the Grade 3 Modesty here last summer.

Mystery Giver won the $150,000 Fair Grounds Breeders' Cup last winter at Fair Grounds while he was under the care of trainer Richie Scherer. His next two starts were not nearly as good, but there were good reasons for his downturn. Mystery Giver shipped poorly for a stakes in Texas and had a tough trip in the Grade 2 Explosive Bid at Fair Grounds. He came back to Chicago and to Block's barn, and Block struggled to keep weight on the rangy colt while doing enough to ready him for the Cardinal.

"The pressure was just unbelievable," an exuberant Block said after the Cardinal. "This is a good horse. I didn't want him to fail."

Block said he wanted Mystery Giver, who has a big late kick, into the bridle and into the race early, and he got his wish. Jockey Rene Douglas, who rode four winners on the card, placed Mystery Giver along the inside, and down the backstretch of the 1 1/16-mile turf race, Mystery Giver raced just more than five lengths behind the quick pace of Afleet Buck.

Douglas let Mystery Giver close the gap on the turn while staying inside, and when Afleet Buck drifted out turning for home, Mystery Giver got a dream run between horses. He made the most of it, finishing strongly to win by a half-length. Just Like Jimmy won a blanket finish for second over the longshot G All Day and Minor Wisdom. Mystery Giver, who paid $5.60 as the favorite, was timed in 1:42.21 over firm turf.

Lincoln Heritage

Ioya Two's reign as the queen of statebred turf horses may have come to an end, as she was soundly beaten with no apparent excuse Saturday in the Lincoln Heritage, a race she had won the last two years.

Instead, Ellie's Rose, a claiming horse for much of her career, won the first stakes of her career, rallying strongly under Larry Sterling to beat M and M Machine by 2 3/4 lengths. It was another length back to Soccory, who edged Ioya Two by a neck for third.

The 5-year-old Ellie's Rose had never even run in a turf race until last fall. But when trainer Michelle Boyce claimed her, she immediately put Ellie's Rose on the turf, and Ellie's Rose responded by finishing second before winning a $50,000 claimer. That was it for Ellie's Rose in 2001, but she came back June 3 at Hawthorne with a commanding optional claiming win at Hawthorne.

"I'll be honest with you," Boyce said. "I thought she'd win today. I know Ioya Two is a good horse, and I'm not taking anything away from her, but I knew my filly was good. She is certainly the best claim I've ever made."

Ellie's Rose was much the best in the Lincoln Heritage, looming up on the far turn before cruising to the lead at the top of the stretch. M and M Machine made an outside rally, and Soccory held on tenaciously, but neither was any match for the winner, who ran 1 1/16 miles over firm turf in 1:42.86 and paid $9.80 to win.

Ioya Two was in a bit tight early, but generally had a good trip. She moved toward the lead turning for home, but flattened out by midstretch.

"She looked like a dead winner turning for home," her trainer, Chris Block, said. "We'll scope her and see if she's clean, and if she is, I don't have any excuse."


With a brilliant ride by Rene Douglas, Colorful Tour reinforced his position as the leading Illinois-bred 3-year-old colt, winning the Springfield Stakes by 1 1/2 lengths over heavy favorite Medlin Road.

Colorful Tour, bred and owned by Irish Acres Farm and trained for the first time by Alfonso Razo, now has taken the three biggest races for statebreds of his age, the Jim Edgar Futurity last year at Hawthorne, the Land of Lincoln this spring at Sportsman's, and now the Springfield.

Colorful Tour found a spot along the inside behind four horses that contested a moderate pace, 23.80 seconds for a quarter-mile and 47.03 for a half. Medlin Road, the 3-5 favorite, raced on the inside of that group and pushed to the lead before hitting the far turn. Douglas, knowing Medlin Road was the horse to beat, tucked Colorful Tour right behind Medlin Road, and when the leader came off the rail midway around the turn, Douglas sent Colorful Tour through a narrow opening on the rail.

"I was just hoping to follow the leader most of the way around," Douglas said. "When the rail opened up I was able to get through."

A small chestnut, Colorful Tour never hesitated, bulling his way to the lead and finishing strongly under stout encouragement. He was timed in a quick 1:36.21 for a one-turn mile on a fast track, and paid $6.40 as the second choice. Medlin Road finished four lengths in front of Coping, who was third.

White Oak

Tic N Tin came back after being passed in midstretch and gutted out a win in the White Oak Handicap, a race he also won during last year's Prairie State Festival.

A 7-year-old making the 59th start of a long career, Tic N Tin got an ideal trip pressing the pace of Magic Doe. But after a fairly moderate first quarter in 22.33 seconds, the tempo never slackened, and though Tic N Tin opened a clear lead on the turn, the pace appeared to be taking its toll as Too Many Bucks ranged up to take a short lead.

A 24-1 shot in from Fairmount Park, Too Many Bucks appeared to be on his way to an upset at the sixteenth pole before Tic N Tin, vigorously ridden by Shane Laviolette even after he was passed, started coming back on the inside. He poked his head in front two strides from the wire and pushed on to a nose victory for owner and trainer Ron Brandenburg.

Classic Appeal rallied mildly to be third, while favored Freeway Ticket finished fifth.

Tic N Tin paid $10.20 to win and ran six furlongs in 1:09.95.

Isaac Murphy

Come September swept to the lead coming off the turn and won the Isaac Murphy by two lengths. Her victory avenged a tough loss in this race last year, when she finished second by a neck.

Come September is owned by L.J. Gaudreau and Larry Gillen and trained by Joe McKellar. Jockey Alfredo Juarez Jr. kept Come September Close to the pace from the start and made the lead with her on the far turn. Faccia Bella ran late to be second, a nose ahead of Darling L. Shemya, the 6-5 favorite, finished last.

Come September ran six furlongs in 1:10.64 and paid $10 to win.

Purple Violet

Summer Mis ran her 10 rivals off their feet early in the Purple Violet Stakes, and though she tired visibly in the final furlong, easily held off Tejano Honey to win by four lengths.

Summer Mis broke a bit slowly but quickly closed the gap on pace-setting Captured Gold. The pair set a torrid pace while opening up on the field, and when Summer Mis put away Captured Gold on the far turn the race was hers.

Trained by Anthony Mitchell and owned by Richard Otto, she paid $7.20 to win and ran a mile in 1:36.19. Tejano Honey finished second, well clear of Westend Tapper in third. The Purple Violet was the third win of the day for jockey Randy Meier.