Block Ties Trotsek’s Arlington Stakes Record With 44 Victories

It was a day of milestones in both stakes events at Arlington International Racecourse on Saturday.

In the $55,850 Purple Violet Stakes, a one-mile all-weather outing for sophomore fillies, trainer Chris Block tied the record for most stakes wins at Arlington when Moabo Stables’ Strollin the Bayou made a devastating run down the stretch to sweep by V-Leaf Stables, Richard Ravin and Larry Rivelli’s formerly undefeated Jean Elizabeth, who suffered her first loss in five career starts.

Block now owns 44 stakes victories at the Chicagoland oval, equal to current record holder and National Racing Hall of Fame conditioner Harry Trotsek, who trained at Arlington from 1950-87.

Strollin the Bayou was last in the early stages of the race while the post-time betting favorite Jean Elizabeth stuck to her front-running ways and set opening fractions of 23.80, 47.10 and 1:11.59. At the top of the stretch, Jean Elizabeth extended her lead to four lengths under jockey Julio Felix in 1:23.78 but was unable to hold off Strollin the Bayou, who stopped the clock in 1:36.07 with a one-length victory. Brinker Hill Farm’s Hayworth, second-last early in the race, found her best stride late with rider Jose Valdivia, Jr. and finished third another four lengths back for trainer James Gulick.

“It’s very special to be named in the same breath as Harry Trotsek,” Block said of his milestone victory. “I wasn’t around when he was here but I’ve heard many stories of the fantastic horseman he was. This is humbling and I’m very proud of it, and I couldn’t have done it without the wonderful owners like the Witt’s, my dad, my mom, Team Block, Mr. Davis and the many owners who I’ve trained for over the course of many years here at Arlington. This is my home; I love it here.”

The 3-year-old daughter of Stroll was guided to victory by Carlos Marquez, Jr. who captured a stakes double on Saturday’s card. Two weekends ago Marquez did the same when riding the Michele Boyce-trained half-siblings Devileye and Puntsville to their respective victories in the Addison Cammack Memorial Handicap and the Isaac Murphy Handicap.

“Thank you to Chris and the owners for giving me the opportunity to ride [Strollin the Bayou], and I want to congratulate Chris on his milestone,” began Marquez. “When I worked her in the morning she was a little aggressive, so we tried to get her to turn off, to relax, and make one run. Today I didn’t expect to be that far back, we were just trying to get her to relax and get her in the right position, but she relaxed a little bit too much. I didn’t panic, just waited until we turned from home and when I let her out she galloped off nicely.”

Strollin the Bayou returned $25.40, $9.80 and $5.20, while Jean Elizabeth brought back $3.20 and $2.40. Hayworth paid $2.80.

The Purple Violet was Strollin the Bayou’s first stakes win and her second lifetime win in seven career starts. The winner’s purse of $32,505 elevated her career earnings up to $68,245.

Bramble Queen, Momma Joann, Royal Position, Twin Deuce and Regal Serenade completed the running order.

Three races earlier, Chief Oakie Dokie slid up the rail in a three-horse charge to the wire to give trainer, co-owner and breeder Arthur Coontz his first stakes victory as a trainer when taking the $52,926 Springfield Stakes on Saturday afternoon.

Owned by Coontz in partnership with David Coontz and Danny Coker, the 3-year-old son of Giant Oak sat towards the back of the five-horse field under jockey Carlos Marquez, Jr. while post-time second-choice Pass the Gravy took command and set opening fractions of 24.34, 48.01 and 1:12.19. Approaching the top of the stretch, Pass the Gravy began to retreat as Jesse Campbell urged Richard Otto Stables’ Sir Anthony to take command by a head for trainer Anthony Mitchell. Timothy Keeley’s Chris Block-trained Wile E Peyote swung four wide under Jose Lopez and appeared to be making a winning move, but it was Chief Oakie Dokie who persevered along the rail win by a neck in a final time of 1:37.05. Sir Anthony held second by a nose over Wile E Peyote.

“Thank you to Arthur, his partners and family for giving me the opportunity to ride this horse,” Marquez said following the race. “I didn’t know his turn of foot was that quick; I was just waiting to find some room. When I asked him his turn of foot was really fast – I just tried to put him in the best spot. He went through the hole and kept running.”

Coontz spent seven years as an assistant for trainer Chris Block. During his tenure, he worked with Chief Oakie Dokie’s sire Giant Oak.

“We’ll look at what’s out there,” Coontz said regarding the horse’s next start. “I was an assistant trainer for Block when he had Giant Oak, who would excel on Poly, turf and also on dirt. It looks like this horse is following in his father’s footsteps and if he keeps doing what he’s doing we’ll be pleased.”

“He ran huge,” Campbell said of his mount Sir Anthony. “They weren’t even pointing for this race and it came up a short field so they threw him in there. It was a good race and the connections were happy. If they’re happy, then I’m happy.”

Meanwhile, Jose Lopez believes that third-place finisher Wile E Peyote could have a bright future ahead of him.

“I was just stalking and stalking and he responded the way he was supposed to,” Lopez said. “He’s going to be a nice horse. He’s not bad at all. I’ll be waiting down the line in the future with this one.”

With the victor’s purse of $31,755 Chief Oakie Dokie raised his career earnings to $53,835. He rewarded his backers with payouts of $8.40, $3.80 and $2.40.  Sir Anthony returned $5.60 and $3.00 while Wile E Peyote paid $2.60 to show.

Completing the order of finish were Pass the Gravy and Dr. Bombay.

The post Block Ties Trotsek’s Arlington Stakes Record With 44 Victories appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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