Less than two weeks remain in the Arlington Park meet, and soon we'll be on the move from Arlington Park to Hawthorne Race Course. And if you're transporting horses across Cook County or to points further, you might be using a horse transport service. One of them is Creech Horse Transportation. Its origins are in Creech Brothers Horse Van Lines, which Addison Cammack was instrumental in starting. Cammack, a staple of the Chicago racing circuit, died last December at age 70 after a lengthy battle with lung cancer. Cammack's name is memorialized in the stakes feature on Saturday at Arlington. For Illinois-bred sprinters, it carries a purse of $65,000. And for more on Cammack, check out the September 19 Arlington Park Barn Notes.
Arlington Park -- Race 5 -- Addison Cammack Stakes -- Six furlongs on polytrack -- Post time of 3:11pm CT.
This year at Arlington Park, rides from Cisco Torres (who, at publish time, is the leading rider with an eight-win margin) have ranged from solid to superb. Torres has gotten THIRD CHANCE to sit just off paces and make a pouncing run in the lane. That strategy in her last effort extended her win streak to three. Still, the Jim DiVito trainee is quick out of the blocks and can sprint away with this thing if it falls into her lap. She's won two Illinois-bred stakes earlier this year: the Governor's Lady at Hawthorne and the Isaac Murphy over this polytrack course. With the meet's leading rider, a weight allowance for her gender, a class advantage (the two stakes she won have purses roughly double this one), and good pace tactics she's the morning line favorite, the obvious horse to beat, and a logical win pick.
SIR APPLESOLUTELY is one of two horses trained by Chris Block. This one has the riding services of James Graham (second to Torres in the riding standings at publish time). He's only made two starts, but they've both been wins, both at today's six furlong distance: a maiden special weight and a first-level Illinois-bred allowance. He is jumping a few rungs on the class ladder trying a small state-bred stake, but, he's only a three-year-old so the potential for improvement is there. The shift from Perez to Graham does concern me (Perez usually rides first call for Block), but this one closed to his victories and Graham is good a finisher as any.
HOODWINKED was a closing turf miler last year. This year, trainer Chris Block has tried to teach this old five-year-old a new trick: polytrack sprinting. So far it's worked decently, as he's had two runner-up finishes in first-level allowances. Eddie Perez and Chris Block team up, looking for their second straight Saturday stakes score. Going turf to synthetic is a 24% winning proposition for Block. As a closer, he'll need pace targets. And he may just get them. May be best as a mid-level claimer, but things might go well enough here for him to be stakes-placed.
#2 THIRD CHANCE (7/5)
#3 SIR APPLESOLUTELY (4/1)
#1 HOODWINKED (7/2)
Longshot: The class progression on #6 SMILING GAMBLER (15/1) seems to have stalled. After getting through the maiden and first-level allowance conditions on the second try, she's been more decisively beaten in Illinois-bred N2X allowances. She gets weight for her gender, and Rosemary Homeister, Jr. takes her turn in the saddle. Can she wake the dead? She's done it most of the year since arriving on the meet. Shifting to a favorable outside post also aids the argument.