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updated: 6/26/2011 12:19 AM

Arlington's Prairie State Festival

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  • Corey Nakatani, aboard Cityrap, checks out whether he beat Our Lady In Red and Julio Felix in Saturday's Purple Violet Stakes. Turns out he did not.

    Corey Nakatani, aboard Cityrap, checks out whether he beat Our Lady In Red and Julio Felix in Saturday's Purple Violet Stakes. Turns out he did not.
    Four footed fotos


For two days this week, Clyde Peterson was without electricity at his home on the north side of Mount Prospect after getting hit by storms Tuesday night.

Saturday at Arlington Park, Peterson and co-owner Tim Fella of Hawthorn Woods had a 3-year-old filly who was all charged up.

Our Lady In Red came on like a lightning bolt at the wire to edge front-running Cityrap by a neck to claim the $92,000 Purple Violet Stakes, one of six Illinois-bred stake races in the 12th annual Prairie State Festival.

"It was a nice way to end the week," said Peterson, who has owned horses since the mid-1990s.

Peterson met Fella, a Chicago native, while playing 16-inch softball at Majewski Athletic Complex in Mount Prospect in 1995. They formed the Last Call Racing Partnership.

Peterson got hooked on racing following his senior year at Prospect High School when he saw Secretariat run at Arlington Park in 1973.

"It never crossed my mind that one day I'd own a horse that would win a stakes race," said Peterson, who works in the distribution business.

"But I was intrigued by the sport ever since seeing Secretariat run that day. I started coming out to the races and then when I met Richie (his trainer Richard Scherer), I started dabbling in the business."

Fella works in the car-repair business.

Our Lady in Red was all business under jockey Julio Felix on Saturday.

Still Rolling:

Trainer Chris Block added 2 more wins -- both wire to wire -- in the Festival, giving him a record 19 in 12 years.

Block won the $89,200 White Oak Handicap with Shrewd Operator, who defended his championship with a 9-length triumph after a 10-month layoff.

The 7-year old gelding is owned by David, Patricia and Ryan Block of Philo.

Block notched his second triumph when Timothy Keeley's Peyote Patty, second in last year's Lincoln Heritage Handicap, returned to win this season's renewal over a turf course listed as "good." Keeley resides in Freeburg, Ill.

Still Rolling (Part II):

Christine Janks, seventh on Arlington's all-time leading trainer list but easily in second place among the leading Prairie State Festival trainers, arrived in Chicago early Saturday from her home in Gainesville, Fla.

She saddled Tazz to a front-running victory in the $90,100 Black Tie Affair.

It marked the seventh season that Janks, a graduate of Lake Forest Country Day and Lake Forest Academy, has saddled at least one winner in the Festival.

Nice touch:

Former CBS-Channel 2 sportscaster Howard Sudberry, now the marketing director at Arlington Park, hosted a toast for each winning Festival team.

He also introduced a rotating special guest to honor each of the six champions.

That list included State Senator Terry Link of Waukegan, Palatine state representative Tom Morrison, Secretary of the State Jesse White, prominent Illinois horse owner Virginia Tarra, UIC men's basketball coach Howard Moore, and Bill Melton, former White Sox third baseman and current analyst for Comcast SportsNet White Sox broadcasts.

Link is the sponsor for the bill to authorize slot machines at Illinois racetracks.

"We need to get Illinois racing back," Link said. "If this gambling bill does it, I'll go out with a bang."

Nice honor:

Longtime Illinois State legislator Bob Molaro and Arlington Park vice-president of legislative affairs Jim Stumpf were co-recipients of the first Karen Paulsen Award after Saturday's first race.

The Paulsen Award is presented by Galloping Out, the equine welfare branch of the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association, and honors individuals who have shown "extraordinary diligence and effort" in improving the lot of retired Chicago based thoroughbreds.