CHANTAL SUTHERLAND, a little smile as Essence Hit man cruises in Queenston – will he be tested at 2 turns next??
Norm Files photo
QUEENSTON MUDDLES PLATE PICTURE
Hit Man strikes again
Audre Cappuccitti was so nervous yesterday, she watched her horse ESSENCE HIT MAN in the Queenston Stakes from behind a pole.
“I was a wreck all day<‘ said Cappuccitti, after she had come out from behind the pole to celebrate her homebred’s crushing win. “I was just so sure he was not going to be able to make 7 furlongs.”
Not only did the chestnut gelding ‘get’ 7 furlongs, he got it and then some, drawing off in stunning time of 1:20.97 (record is 1:20) leaving the previously undefeated HOLLINGER riding the rail through the stretch and not being able to keep up.
“I can’t believe it” said Cappuccitti. “I’m stunned.”
The Speightstown gelding’s Beyer Figure for his win was a career best 100.
Bred by Cappuccitti and her husband Gord, the gelding is from their star mare EL PRADO ESSENCE (El Prado) a sprinting stakes winner who was so good to her owners.
“I still have her, she’s in Kentucky with a Grand Slam at her side and she’s in foal to Exchange Rate,” said Cappuccitti.
Of course the obvious question for the winning owner/trainer was regarding the Queen’s Plate – the gelding is not eligible currently so he would have to be supplemented for $25,000.
“It’s tempting (to try him around 2 turns), he was drawing off wasn’t he, but I don’t know.”
Cappuccitti said she and her husband would sit down and discuss it.
“I’ve never had a Plate horse before.”
So what exactly happened in the Queenston? Well, it is a Plate prep so there was some fiddling going on with trips and tactics and well, the only person who knew what he/she wanted to do was Chantal Sutherland, who sent her gelding right to the lead and got away with a slow 23 1/5 furst two furlongs. Meanwhile, Hollinger was fresh and wanted to chase but when the leader went 22.00 flat, exactly, then Hollinger and the gang got worn out in a frantic pursuit.
“I didn’t mind losing the race but that’s not the way I wanted him to run,” said Roger Attfield about Hollinger. “I would have rather him come from where Ian’s horse was,”
Ian Black trainee D’s Wando was far behind in the early stages – surprisingly so – but he was theone whp was closing best behind a long gone Hit Man, who won by 6 lengths.
“I thought he closed well but we have a lot farther to go,” said Black.
Ghost Fleet actually held for 2nd after he had 4 wide stalking trip around the turn and that colt was only making his first run of the year.
What was curious about the whole thing, other than some of the tactics used (one has to be careful betting on races that are preps for stakes races since many are looking down the road) was how far off the rail everyone was down the backstretch and to the wire. Only Hollinger rode the rail in the stretch.
In the background, the team from Sam-Son Farms must have been quietly pleased at the proceedings – HOTEP was a dominant winner of the Wando Stakes around 2 turns and now seems to rule what is a very small group of legitimate Queen’s Plate contenders:
BIG RED MIKE
Dark Cloud Dancer
News came down yesterday morning that RESENTLESS, the stakes winning filly, could be dicey to get to the Oaks now since she has been sick – there is a lot of going around the track these days.
American 3yo crop not impressive so far
LOOKIN AT LUCKY gets a well deserved classic win(photo below, he’s second from right). But there is a mish mash of modest 3yos coming to the wire and it’s just not a great group. Cindy Pierson Dulay photo
And the headline race in the world yesterday was of course the PREAKNESS, the 2nd leg of the Triple Crown.
Just like so many fans want, jockey Calvin Borel, who rode SUPER SAVER to his big Kentucky Derby score, likely wanted this colt to be the one finally, the first Crown winner since 1978.
But it was not a realisltic claim that he made yesterday when he announced to the world that the colt would win the Triple Crown. A 104 Beyer win in the Derby is simply not that impressive.
Instead, it was LOOKIN AT LUCKY that finally got lucky as he stalked from mid-pack and rallied to the lead before bravely holdling back a determined FIRST DUDE from the rail and a charging Jackson Bend to his outside.
The son of Canadian-bred SMART STRIKE had endured some awful trips in his races and got his due, with new rider Martin Garcia on board.
The Beyer Figure of 102 says just one thing simply – this is a very, very modest group of 3yos – perhaps not even as good as Mine That Bird last year and we know where that dude ranks as far as big time Derby winners.