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Illinois Festival of Racing Preview




The annual Illinois Festival of Racing takes place today. Six races worth an estimated $125,000 each ($100,000 added plus $25,000 IB), featuring the best Illinois breds in training are on tap.


These races feature a number of former stakes winners. We’ll just mention some that have scored in a stakes race over the last two years or so.


THE ILLINI PRINCESS HANDICAP (8 Nominations). Fillies and Mares, going a mile and a sixteenth.


Defending champ Dundalk Dust was the upset winner in 2010. She was racing on dirt for the first time, which was the only reason that she got away at such a great price ($12.40). In her very next start Dundalk Dust surprised again, this time in the Grade 2 Fall City Handicap at Churchill.  It’s been a different story this year, she hasn’t been able to find the winner’s circle, but that could change with the return to the track of her first “big” victory.


Seans Silverdancer is another that could return to form. She won her career debut here in last fall and followed that up with a dominating victory in the Debutante to close out the year. She never fired in her only other dirt start, in Louisiana, but we do know that she likes this track.


Catalina Way won the Peach of It Handicap here in the spring. She has a love for the track and the distance. She doesn’t have many poor efforts. Could lead all the way in this one.


Peyote Patty never won on a fast dirt track but she’s a multiple stakes winner and she is always right there. On or off the lead, she’s a legitimate threat.


THE SUN POWER STAKES (11 Nominations).  Two-year-old Colts and Geldings, going six furlongs, are the stars of this show. We get a couple of stakes winners in here but most are still learning.


Twelve Hundred dominated in his first two races, including the Prairie Meadows Juvenile Mile but was given the difficult task of taking on graded stakes company in the Arlington Washington Futurity in last and doing it from the 13 hole. He faded after pressing the pace. But, he’s turning back in distance and moving back to state breds.


Rocket Professor won both of his starts at Fairmount, including the Troy Our Boy, and did it fairly easily.  We’ll find out today if he can compete on this circuit.


THE SHOWTIME DEB STAKES (12 Nominations). There are no stakes winners among this field of eight 2-year-old fillies going six furlongs but there will be after this race


THE POWERLESS HANDICAP (14 Nominations). Fillies and Mares, going six furlongs.


Third Chance might be better on Polytrack but she won the Showtime Deb here last fall and she finished second in the Pretty Jenny here in the spring. She reeled off three dominating victories at Arlington in her last three starts


Wild Hope won the Isaac Murphy at Arlington the last time she faced state breds. She finished third in this race last year.


Cruise scored in the Governor’s Lady here in the spring. She’s always capable on or off the pace. Kathleen L is winless this year but she did score in last year’s edition of this race. All six of her victories came on this track.


Ripe Tomato gets an honorable mention. She hasn’t won in a couple of years but has eight local victories combined with over $312,000 in Hawthorne earnings.


THE LIGHTNING JET HANDICAP (14 Nominations) 3-yr-old and up going six furlongs.


This is one great race.


Shrewd Operator is a lightly-raced 7-year-old but when he runs…Wow! He crushed the field in the White Oak Handicap at Arlington in his last start, generating one of the highest Beyer Speed Figures (114) of the year.


River Bear, the winner last year, always seems to get up for the big races. He hasn’t raced since June but He does thrive off layoffs.


Capt. Bullet Bob won the Texas Zing at Fairmount by 40 lengths. But, he had only one rival.


THE BUCK’S BOY HANDICAP (13 Nominations). 3-yo and up. One and one sixteenth miles


Denham has been off since June but this former $5,000 claimer has been something else, layoffs included. He won 11 of his last 19 races, three of last four, including the Milwaukee Avenue here in April. Don’t know the reason for his lengthy layoff but he deserves the benefit of the doubt.


Hydro Power wired the field in the Springfield at AP this summer.


Racing Bran is a five-time local winner, He’s been lightly raced this year but he did win a stakes race at Fairmount in August. He took the Milwaukee Avenue and the $100k Essex Handicap at Oaklawn in 2010.


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