2016 Addison Cammack Handicap & Isaac Murphy Handicap Preview

Arlington International continues its tour of the state-bred stakes divisions with a pair of stakes on its card.  Illinois-bred sprinters are the focus in a pair of stakes with purses of $50,000-added.  For the open group, there is the Addison Cammack Handicap.  The ladies will go in the Isaac Murphy Handicap.  Both stakes are set for six furlongs on Arlington’s polytrack and both are analyzed below.  As recently as 2012, the two stakes on this program were packaged with other Illinois-bred stakes to compose the Prairie State Festival.

Coverage this weekend at Picks & Ponderings isn’t limited to Arlington. This is Belmont Stakes week, and the Picks & Ponderings team has coverage of both stakes-laden days from Belmont Park. Our Nicolle Neulist dives into the G2 New York Stakes on Friday with the duo also providing their usual big day stakes grids for Friday.  Saturday is headlined by the Belmont Stakes which sees both Paul and Nicolle providing point and counterpoint on that race.  Additionally, the Metropolitan Handicap, or “Met Mile” is previewed by Nicolle Neulist in depth too with Saturday stakes selections from the pair.

All races discussed below are scheduled for Saturday June 11.

Arlington International — Race 5 — Addison Cammack Handicap — Six Furlongs on Polytrack — post time 3:23 PM CT

This race memorializes Addison Cammack, one of the founding fathers of Creech Brothers Horse Van Lines, a transport services for racetrack horses. Cammack, a staple of the Chicago racing circuit, died in December 2011 at age 70 after a lengthy battle with lung cancer. Cammack’s name is memorialized in the stakes feature on Saturday at Arlington. Before being known as the Cammack, the race was known as the White Oak Handicap and featured past double winners such as Tic N Tin (2001-2002), High Expectations (2006-2007), Shrewd Operator (2010-2011) and SWEET LUCA (2013-2014).  Popular state-bred sprinter River Bear (2009) also counts himself on the winners list of this race.

The current three-year-old Illinois-bred champion LEWY’S VAPORIZER was made the 5/2 favorite on Joe Kristufek’s morning line.  The horse who Picks & Ponderings voted (and as an editorial comment, made a better case to be that division’s champion), RECOUNT, was made the second 3/1 choice.  Yet LEWY’S VAPORIZER is at his best when he can dictate the terms on the front end.   RECOUNT is similar to that.  So is DOM THE BOMB, LEWY’S VAPORIZER’s stablemate.  Even if Rivelli scratches one, that still leaves two pace presences in here who will want the top.  We’ll go to the seven-year-old SWEET LUCA in this spot.  A two-time winner of this race in 2013 and 2014, he was third last year behind RECOUNT.  Fortino, Inc.’s SWEET LUCA should get the pace setup from one or both of the DOM THE BOMB/LEWY’S VAPORIZER pair and from RECOUNT.  He went off first the layoff last time and was fourth to upper allowance/listed stakes types like Flashlight and R Great Adventure.  But he’s fired better second off in the past and was good enough last year to take a listed stakes at Kentucky Downs.  Edgar Perez takes the call for Chris Block.  The morning line quote of 7/2 should hold as LEWY’S VAPORIZER will take money with meet-leading rider Jose Valdivia aboard for trainer Larry Rivelli.   RECOUNT will take money as his fourth last time in the one-turn mile G3 Hanshin Cup was the only career time he didn’t win over the Arlington polytrack.  He drops in class in this spot down to the state-bred stakes level.  He did win this event last year, but he was three and getting an age-related weight break.  That luxury isn’t there now that he’s four.  He didn’t do much wrong wintering at Oaklawn, but he hasn’t won since taking the Blackhawk for Illinois-preferred types at cross-town Hawthorne.  He’s not the only speed in here and he could inherit if needed, but – like in the Hanshin Cup – there’s no free lunch for him.  Rivelli sends two, and this space likes DOM THE BOMB as the better of the two.  After stagnating last year at three, he’s come back in fine form during the early stages of the Arlington meet.  While the ownership is mostly the same on him and LEWY’S VAPORIZER and both are Rivelli trainees, he’s double the price of LEWY’s VAPORIZER, and not trying to come off a six-month layoff either.  He’ll be forwardly placed here – not a bad thing on the Arington polytrack (see: last week’s Purple Violet).


#8 SWEET LUCA (7/2)

#2 RECOUNT (3/1)

#4 DOM THE BOMB (5/1)

Longshot: When #7 ARMANDO’S STAR (12/1) last set his hooves on the Arlington polytrack, it was in an N2X AOC that closed out the Memorial Day card.  But that card was run on a day when Arlington International played like a carousel, and Good Bye Greg rode the carousel to win and give Rivelli his 1000th training win. That was also a tricky allowance, featuring G3W Shogood and in-form past IL-bred stakes winner Reigning Catfish.  He ran third that afternoon, a fine second-off effort given things were not to his liking.  ARMANDO’S STAR has a once-upon-a time stakes placing at two, but he’s an off-pace type at six furlongs (but usually stuck on the lead going six and a half at Hawthorne).  He’ll be helped if the Rivelli entrant or entrants mix it up with RECOUNT on the front end.  This Julio Felix/Mark Cristel jockey/trainer production does seem stuck in N2X-land, but sometimes that level matches up to the statebred stakes level.

Arlington International – Race 7 – Isaac Murphy Handicap — Six Furlongs on Polytrack — post time 4:26 PM CT


Photo under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

This handicap honors Isaac Murphy (see photo), a Hall of Fame jockey who won three Kentucky Derbies.  The Isaac Murphy Handicap serves as the female complement to the Addison Cammack on the same card, as it is for older Illinois-bred fillies and mares.  Through he years, the race has been run at a variety of surfaces (dirt, turf, polytrack) an distances (from six furlongs to a mile and a sixteenth) on its history as the 2015 renewal will be the 38th running of the Isaac Murphy.  Past Illinois-bred winners include Hawthorne stakes namesake Third Chance (2012).  As the race at one time catered to open company, it also acquired a winners’ list that includes Grade One winner Taylor’s Special (1986-87).

RICHIE’S SWEETHEART beat the boys last time in an open $75K stake on the grass last time at Canterbury and drops down to this Illiinois-bred stake.  It makes sense for her to be 7/5, as she racked up a nice resume of turf sprint triumphs last year.  Yet RICHIE’S SWEETHEART also has no passing gear.  In a race with other front end types like WILDWOOD KANTHAROS, LOOKING FOR BITS, and PUNTSVILLE that will challenge her it makes perfect sense to go shopping and find something else. This space doesn’t see her hitting the board unless the Illinois Department of Transportation or the Village of Arlington Heights installs No Passing Zone signs at the top of the Arlington International homestretch.

Trainer Steve Manley could earn himself back-to-back wins in the Isaac Murphy as he sends out two in here. CHURCH ROAD has J B Stables, Inc silks and Carlos Montalvo to ride. CHURCH ROAD pulled off the pace last time in an N1X at Arlington to clear that condition in her first start of 2016.  With the front-end types lined up, she could get a nice pressing trip just off one of the speeds – rail drawn PUNTSVILLE.  With a very nice polytrack record (eleven starts, all in the trifecta, five wins), CHURCH ROAD could be the trip horse from just off it that blows up the board.  Her last two out-of-the superfecta finishes were going a mile on the Arlington weeds and over at Hawthorne where there’s no polytrack.  Even if she’s closer to the lead she can still fire well, as she chased in vain No Fault of Mine last fall when the latter was working herself back to her G3P (2nd, this year’s Arlington Matron) form.  While the polytrack breeding on DANDY GAL is much better suited to Hawthorne’s fall iteration of this level, she makes sense in this field.  DANDY GAL won a twice-other-than down at Fairmount last time.  It’s usually a big leap from Fairmount allowances to Arlington stakes, but if Arlington’s leading rider is climbing aboard it merits a hard look.  The trainer is 21% wins/54% in the money going dirt-to-synthetic.  She’s never been out of the money in five career tries, is a three-year-old that gets  a weight break, and – unlike RICHIE’S SWEETHEART – has some fight on the front as she demonstrated losing in a photo downstate.  Perhaps the presence of RICHIE’S SWEETHEART has people thinking it’s best to take off and try to hope she comes back to her.  If the speed chickens out, maybe PUNTSVILLE gets first jump on her.  While she led three back from start to finish at Hawthorne she wasn’t on the lead taking the Pershing Handicap last fall at 17-10.  The fact she’s unseen since last Thanksgiving might make her too keen on the front end, a bad place to be with other confirmed front-end gas.  Still, she fits best at this level, maybe better than the morning line favorite.


#2 CHURCH ROAD (12/1)

#8 DANDY GAL (15/1)


Longshot: Manley took this race last year with Royal Posh and he could send out the winner again.  While CHURCH ROAD is lower on the morning line, #4 CANETTE (20/1) makes sense too.  It’s not just because of the uncoupled entry gambit, but she’s going second off the layoff and spent last year chasing around PUNTSVILLE last year in sprints – and she’s developed into a fine stakes-level sprinter.  She dropped in while in deep stretch and faltered going six and a half at cross-town Hawthorne.  Santo Sanjur has the call here as she gets a shorter distance and looks to have bounced out of that effort in fine fettle, while also getting a chance at an inside stalking trip of a potentially sizzling pace.


For an alternate look at both the Addison Cammack Handicap and the Isaac Murphy Handicap, Nicolle Neulist’s analysis is here.


You can take “Picks & Ponderings” with you anytime, anywhere. You can get Twitter updates @picksponderings for on-scene reports from Arlington International Racecourse. And you can get “Picks and Ponderings” in your e-mail by typing your email address in the box and clicking “Create Subscription.” It’s a FREE service, and you’ll never get any unwanted spam.

Leave a comment