It was a Block party for veteran trainer and owner Chris Block, who visited the winner's circle after each of the two $100,000 Owners Stakes races Saturday at Arlington Park.
It began in the open division, run at 1 1/16th miles or 5,610 feet. Mr. Mischief, with E.T. Baird set the pace and led for 5,609 feet and about 7 inches before being nosed out by a surging Suntracer with jockey Eddie Perez aboard, who closed from dead last to win on the final bob.
"I actually thought he got beat," Block said of the photo finish. "Eddie saved ground on both turns and made a big run. The horse has been moving forward with each start. He had an eye injury and now his confidence is back. I thought he'd run well today."
Before the race, Block faced a choice of which race to enter Suntracer in -- the Owners Stakes or next week's $400,000 St. Leger to be run on Million Day. Looks like he chose correctly.
"(Stablemate) Ioya Bigtime will run there," Block said. "The more we thought about it, this race made more sense for Suntracer, and it paid off."
In the fillies and mares division, Peyote Patty, with Tim Thornton aboard, stalked and pounced on pacesetter Katie the Lady to pick up her 10th career victory.
"She's got the heart of a lion," Block said. "She stands in the paddock like it's another day at the office … and then she lets it go out on the track."
Arlington's very own:
WGN-TV and WGN America will provide live coverage of the Arlington Million and the Beverly D. Stakes on Saturday (5-6 p.m.).
The telecast, hosted by WGN's Dan Roan, Arlington Park's Howard Sudberry and Blackhawks television analyst Eddie Olczyk, also will include highlights from the Grade I $500,000 Secretariat Stakes and the $400,000 American St. Leger Stakes, both of which will have been run earlier in the day.
Leading up to the Million, the post position draw will take place at the WGN-TV studios and will be seen live on "WGN Midday News" on Wednesday.