06/29/2006 11:00PM

Sea O'Erin next for Fort Prado

Benoit & Associates
Fort Prado, the Black Tie Affair winner, will go back into open company.

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill. - Fort Prado, the most prominent if not the most impressive winner on last Saturday's Prairie State Festival, came out of his narrow victory in the Black Tie Affair Handicap in good shape, and has as his next goal the Sea O'Erin Breeders' Cup Mile on Aug. 5 at Arlington.

In fact, there is not another entire day of Illinois-bred stakes races until the fall meet at Hawthorne, so many of the best statebreds will have to try their luck in open company. Fort Prado has been there and done that, and the Sea O'Erin, a race Fort Prado won last season, figures to be well within his range.

Fort Prado was making his first start since April, and missed training during May with a bruised foot, but he ground out a neck victory over the improving Majestic Zeal. The race should move Fort Prado forward, and trainer Chris Block, who likes to keep his horses close to home, said he would consider tackling tougher competition later in the summer if Fort Prado succeeded in the Sea O' Erin.

"I wouldn't want to take him out of town if I can keep him here," Block said. "If we ran well enough in the Sea O'Erin, we'd look at some things."

Original Spin, the other best-known name on the Prairie State card, emerged from her sixth-place finish in the Purple Violet Stakes in good physical condition, but trainer Tony Mitchell is taking a step back with the filly, and pointing for an Illinois-bred second-level allowance race here later this month. Original Spin, making her second start since a third-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile fillies, raced in good stalking position but tired in the final quarter-mile.

"I thought she was ready to go, but obviously I didn't have enough in her," Mitchell said. "She's had three races now where she didn't win, so it's time to put some confidence back in her, and we'll go from there."

Confidence is running high in the barn of trainer Christine Janks, who won two of the six Illinois-bred races, including an improbable victory by High Expectations, who came from some 20 lengths behind to win the six-furlong White Oak.

"I went from having a horse I thought was a route horse to having a king sprinter," Janks said. No plans have been made for High Expectations, but Janks said that "he seems most effective at a one-turn distance," and will plot a schedule accordingly.

Ms. Lydonia won the Lincoln Heritage, but Janks's other horse in the race, Modjadji, had serious trouble in the stretch, and Janks thinks she might have been best on the day. Thus, it is Modjadji that Janks plans on running back in the July 22 Modesty Handicap - the race that could be the next stop for Chic Dancer, whom Janks had to scratch from an overnight stakes race Sunday when the mare came up with an upper respiratory infection. And finally, Pretty Jenny, second in the Isaac Murphy Handicap, will make her next start in the J J's Dream, an overnight turf sprint stakes.

Trainer regroups with Lewis Michael

Lewis Michael, who finished ninth in the Colonial Turf Cup last Saturday, returned to Arlington on a van the next day and came back to trainer Wayne Catalano's barn in good condition, Catalano said Thursday.

"Everything went all right, and he came back fine," said Catalano, offering no specific excuses for Lewis Michael's loss. Lewis Michael, who was coming off a good second in the Peter Pan Stakes, raced in second behind a fast-paced leader for much of the Colonial Turf Cup, but failed to kick in during the stretch run. Catalano said he didn't know where and when Lewis Michael might start next. "We'll go over everything and see what we're going to do," he said.

Plans also have yet to be firmed up, Catalano said, for Dreaming of Anna, owner Frank Calabrese's promising 2-year-old filly. Dreaming of Anna won one of the first 2-year-old maiden races of this meet, and has posted two recent breezes.

Straight Line working well

Straight Line, the talented miler, appears to be over foot problems that have dogged him throughout this year, and is being pointed to the seven-furlong Bet on Sunshine Stakes on July 9 at Churchill Downs, trainer Brian Williamson said. Straight Line breezed a bullet five furlongs in 59.60 seconds June 23, and turned in another solid five furlongs Friday morning.

Williamson also said he would nominate Tally Up, winner of the Springfield Stakes on the Prairie State Festival, to the Round Table Stakes.

"I don't know what I'll do with him yet," Williamson said.

Longshot over longshot

Thursday's fifth race, an Illinois-bred maiden special weight sprint, produced some of the meet's highest payoffs. The well-bred Acts Like a Lion had shown little in three career starts, but tried a one-turn race for the first time and rallied like a wild horse from last place to win going away, paying a meet-high $121.40. In second place was another huge longshot, Combat Duty, who paid $52.60 to place, and completed a meet-high $2,726.60 exacta.

There were no winning $1 trifecta tickets, but a 50-cent tri ticket that included third-place Denaveral (just a 3-1 chance) was worth $46,384.15.