The older turf horse divisions in Illinois, both male and female, have been strong in recent years. And, today's pair of turf stakes races at Hawthorne Race Course were both won by longtime Illinois runners with deep family roots in the state. Six-year-old Streamline, a multiple graded stakes winner on dirt who hails from a long-running Harvey and Nancy Vanier family, made her turf stakes debut in the Illini Princess a winning one. Eight-year-old Cammack, a Team Block homebred with durability that runs in the family, rolled late on the outside to prove best in the Buck's Boy Handicap.
Illini Princess Handicap: STREAMLINE Up Just In Time
Though Streamline emerged in the winter of 2016 as a tough contender in stakes races over the Oaklawn dirt, she raced mostly on the grass through the summer and fall of her three-year-old season. This year, after a handful of off-the-board finishes on the dirt in the spring, she returned to her roots on the lawn. She remembered how good the turf felt under her hooves, rallying to score by a neck over Daddy's Boo and Lovely Loyree. After an off-the-board finish on the Churchill dirt last month, she came back to the lawn to face seven other Illinois-bred mares in the Illini Princess Handicap.
Lovely Loyree eased to the lead, then was quickly joined by 81/1 longshot Cowgirl Callie. Streamline settled behind that pair, with 1/1 favourite Prado's Sweet Ride tucked inside of Crafty's Way in the next flight. Lovely Loyree, egged on by Cowgirl Callie, carved out an opening quarter in 25.59 and an opening half in 52.14.
Lovely Loyree continued to be prompted by Cowgirl Callie until the turn for home. Into the lane, that challenger began to fade, but new foes threatened. Prado's Sweet Ride was making her run up the rail, and Streamline descended to her outside. Lovely Loyree, asked for everything she had, dug in along the rail. At the sixteenth mark, Streamline poked a head in front. Lovely Loyree fought to regain the lead.
In the final strides, Streamline battled back, hitting the wire a head in front. It was another neck back to Prado's Sweet Ride, who had swung off the rail and made a belated three-wide bid. Crafty's Way chased them home another two and a half lengths back. Applique, Cowgirl Callie, Goddess of Kip, and Ima Little Kitten completed the order of finish.
Streamline is a six-year-old dark bay or brown mare by Straight Line out of the Sahm mare Love Handles. Bred in Illinois by Nancy Vanier, she is owned in partnership by her breeder and Cartwright Thoroughbreds V, LLC. The victory was Streamline's tenth in 28 career starts, and her fourth in stakes company. The $32,400 winner's share of the purse brought her lifetime earnings to $906,779.
Streamline stopped the timer in 1:46.01 for the mile and a sixteenth on firm turf, and paid $10.40 to win. The $1 exacta over Lovely Loyree (8-5) returned $12.30. A trifecta with Prado's Sweet Ride in third (8-5-1) came back with $4.26 for each $0.20 base bet. The $0.20 superfecta with Crafty's Way fourth (8-5-1-4) paid $16.50.
Streamline's family roots run deep in Illinois, through the Vanier family's history as Illinois owners and breeders. Nancy Vanier co-owned Streamline's sire Straight Line (along with Cartwright Thoroughbreds II). Vanier bred her dam Love Handles along with her late husband Harvey Vanier. Harvey and Nancy Vanier also bred Streamline's second dam Hip Huggers (Magloire) and her third dam Hip (Wise Times) in the Land of Lincoln. Harvey Vanier also bred her fourth dam Parlor (Cross King) in the state.
Parlor is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes-winning Illinois-bred Architect (Mr. Leader), another horse Vanier bred. And, Parlor produced Westward Hope (Daniel Boone), dam of the last Illinois-bred to run in the Kentucky Derby: Vanier homebred Western Playboy (Play Fellow), who won the 1989 Blue Grass Stakes (G1) on the way to the Derby starting gate.
Buck's Boy Handicap: CAMMACK Still Strong at Age Eight
Eight-year-old Cammack has had an unusual -- and unusually fruitful -- racing career. Racing in the allowance ranks at ages three and four, he took a year and a half off, and then emerged as a stakes horse at the age of six. This year, at eight, he has shown no signs of slowing down. He was competitive all summer at Arlington, even besting eventual Sycamore Stakes (G3) winner Zulu Alpha in an allowance race over the grass. Freshened for two months, he returned in a hotly competitive nine-horse edition of the Buck's Boy Handicap.
Multiple stakes winner Goneghost, a speedster trying grass for the first time, reprised his usual style. He sent to the front, lightly prompted by In the Chamber and Memory Bank to his outside down the stretch for the first time, through an opening quarter of 25.04. He continued to dictate terms through a half in 50.51, as In the Chamber began to engage him in earnest.
They separated from the rest of the pack into the far turn, the two greys vying for the pace. Memory Bank had let them go, with Cammack sitting further back, waiting for the right moment to strike.
Into the lane, In the Chamber gave in. Memory Bank, tracking in range three wide, was asked for run. He gave some. Cammack, on the far outside turning for home and four wide at the furlong pole, gave more. He found his best, swallowing up the ground between him and Goneghost. Memory Bank rallied in between them, giving it his all, but still fell a half-length short in the end. It was another length and a quarter back to Goneghost, game to the end. Blue Sky Kowboy, the 5/2 favourite, rallied from last to be fourth. Don'task Don'ttell, Super Soldier, Devileye, In the Chamber, and What's Up Dude completed the order of finish. Senor Blanco was a trainer's scratch.
Cammack is an eight-year-old dark bay or brown gelding, foaled in Illinois, by Giant's Causeway out of the Fortunate Prospect mare Fort Pond. A homebred for Team Block, he is trained by Chris Block. The victory was Cammack's 13th in 36 career outings, and his fourth in a stakes race. The $32,850 winner's share of the purse brought his career earnings to $440,313.
Cammack finished the mile and a sixteenth on firm turf in 1:44.11, and paid $9.80 to win. The exacta over Memory Bank (10-6) returned $29.70 for each dollar on the combination. A $0.20 trifecta over Goneghost (10-6-3) came back with $39.92. A superfecta with Blue Sky Kowboy in the lowest rung (10-6-3-7) paid $84.12 for every $0.20 on the combination.
Cammack was named to honour the late Addison Cammack, a friend of trainer Chris Block and a longtime figure in Illinois racing. In addition to carrying on his memory, Cammack also continues the legacy of one of Illinois's greatest racehorses. He is a half-brother to one of Team Block's all-time stars, and perhaps Cammack's model for durability: Fort Prado, who won 18 of 59 starts through age eight, including a pair of graded stakes. Though, Cammack's victory today gives him one achievement Fort Prado never had. Fort Prado raced in the Buck's Boy Handicap once, at age eight -- but, unlike Cammack, did not make it to the winners' circle in the race.
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