Trainer Chris Block will be in position to take over the all-time stakes win record at Arlington Park on Saturday when he sends out Joyful Night in the Isaac Murphy Memorial, and Wile E Peyote in the Addison Cammack Memorial.
Block got his first victory as a trainer in 1990 and has been a force at Arlington ever since.
“It means a great deal to me.” Block said Friday. “Arlington is home for me and to do that is really special for me and my whole crew including all of the owners who have supported me my whole career here.”
Chris Block 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,
“Right now I'm tied with a true legend, and to surpass it will be pretty humbling to say the least,” Block said. “I'm just honored that I've made it this far. I didn't even know I was close until our announcer John Dooley brought it up last year and I was kind of surprised. It's going to be really special and I hope I can get it done Saturday.”
The first of his two opportunities will come in the fourth race on the card, the $75,000 Isaac Murphy to be run at six furlongs on the synthetic main track and drew a field of 6 fillies and mares.
Making her stakes debut for Rich Ege and Team Block, Joyful Night is coming off a state-bred allowance victory following up her 11-length maiden score in May.
The now 4-year-old daughter of Midnight Lute will be making only her fifth career start, after some minor issues early on,
“We thought she wouldn't be able to hold up very well if we pushed her early on with her conformation,” Block explained. “We gave her plenty of time to grow and develop. There were no real injuries with her, we just felt like the best chance she had to be successful was for us to just take our time with her and it's worked out well so far.”
Joyful Night will be ridden by Edgar Perez. She will break from post two in Saturdays Isaac Murphy Handicap.
Rounding out the field in the Isaac Murphy will be: Itsagimme's Girl (Chris Emigh- post 1), Game Time Decision (Ty Kennedy- post 3), Brittney On Blades (Jermaine Bridgmohan- post 4), Jean Elizabeth (Jose Valdivia Jr- post 5), and Puntsville (Carlos Marquez Jr. – post 6).
Block will have his next opportunity at breaking the record the following race in the Addison Cammack Memorial Handicap. The Cammack will be run at six furlongs on the synthetic main track and drew a field of six colts and geldings.
Owned by Timothy J. Keeley, Wile E Peyote is coming off a victory in a state-bred allowance race last out in which he sat at the back of the pack early and stormed home for a narrow victory.
“He's been a completely different horse this year,” Block said. “Last year he showed us some flashes of ability, but we knew he would get better as he got older. We gave him a little break over the winter after his stay in New Orleans at Fair Grounds. He's come back more mature both physically and mentally. His last race was good and I'm hoping he can use that last race to step forward here.
“Me and my owners, this is what we look forward to,” Block added. “You breed them here in Illinois and you get to showcase them on these days and get them to all run against each other and see whose best.”
Wile E Peyote will be ridden by Carlos Marquez Jr. and will break from post 2.
Rounding out the field are: Recount (Edgar Perez, post 1), Richiesinthehouse (Jose Valdivia Jr.- post 3), Bulldog of Bergen (Ty Kennedy- post 4), Northern Fire (Mitchell Murill- post 5), and Whats Up Dude (Jose Lopez- post 6).
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