Capo Kane wins the Jerome-Photo Credit credit Joe Labozzetta
by Brian Bohl
Capo Kane made his stakes debut – and first start in New York – a successful effort, leading gate-to-wire for a 6 1/4-length victory in Friday’s 151st running of the $150,000 Jerome for newly minted 3-year-olds at Aqueduct Racetrack.
Owned by Bing Cherry Racing and Leonard Liberto, Capo Kane made his debut on October 28 at Parx, running second in a seven-furlong sprint. He ended his juvenile campaign with a maiden-breaking victory on November 25 on the same track, being stretched out to a mile and 70 yards.
Returning to action on an overcast New Year’s Day, the California-bred Capo Kane broke sharp from the inside post under jockey Dylan Davis and led the compact five-horse field through the opening quarter-mile in 23.53 seconds and the half in 47.83 on the muddy main track with 7-5 favorite Swill in close pursuit.
Jockey Manny Franco urged up Eagle Orb out of the turn, making a bid from the outside. But Davis responded to the pressure by keeping Capo Kane alert, and the Street Sense colt responded with a strong stretch drive surge that saw him move out to the center of the track while drawing away to win the first stakes of the year on the NYRA circuit. He completed the one-turn mile in a final time of 1:38.02.
Capo Kane, off at 6-1, returned $15.80 on a $2 win wager and earned 10 qualifying points towards the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby on May 1 at Churchill Downs. The top-four finishers were awarded 10-4-2-1 points.
“He broke sharp for me and I was able to take the lead very comfortably,” Davis said. He responded great all the way to the wire and I was very happy with the way he did it. He galloped out well. It was a very comfortable win and he handled the track real well.”
Conditioner Harold Wyner, a former steeplechase jockey who trained his first winner in 2004, earned his first career stakes win in his 1,679th career starter. Capo Kane, who was running without Lasix for the first time, is now tied for fifth on the early points leaderboard for the “Run for the Roses.”
“I’d like to thank the owners for giving me the opportunity to train this horse and having faith in me,” Wyner said.“The goal was to do what Dylan wanted. I said to Dylan if he breaks good to just leave him alone, take a long hold and let him get in his stride and take the race as you find it. He found himself on the lead and Dylan rode a fantastic race.
“Last time he drifted out a little bit at the head of the lane at Parx, but that was because he switched his lead early. He’s still a little green,” he added.
Wyner said stretching back out to two turns could be the next step, with the Grade 3, $250,000 Withers [10-4-2-1 points] going 1 1/8 miles on February 6 at the Big A remaining a possible target, as well as the Risen Star at Fair Grounds on February 13.
“It should be no problem. In the morning, the further he gallops the stronger he gets. He just loves to run,” Wyner said. “He’s a racehorse. I’d like to see how he comes back, but I may point him towards the Withers or the maybe the Risen Star.”
Wyner said he’s excited to train another horse who has potential on the Kentucky Derby trail, building on a recent experience. He picked out Capo Kane, a $26,000 purchase, at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale. The Manchester, England born conditioner was also the initial conditioner of Ny Traffic, who finished eighth in last year’s Kentucky Derby for trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr.
“When I first got the horse I breezed him and he breezed real well,” Wyner said about Capo Kane. “I used to have Ny Traffic as a 2-year-old and I won with him and brought him here [fifth in 2019 Notebook at the Big A] and we decided to send him to Florida to Mr. Saffie and thank God we did because COVID hit. I told Mr. Fanelli [co-owner of NY Traffic] then that he was a Derby horse and I think this is a Derby horse, too. I bought Ny Traffic at the sale, and I also bought this one.”
E.V. Racing Stable’s Eagle Orb, a New York-bred son of Orb, finished 2 ¾ lengths ahead of Hold the Salsa for second. The Rudy Rodriguez trainee has finished first or second in five of his six career starts.
“I had a good trip,” Franco said. “I was right there, but I have to give credit to the winner. He’s a nice horse.”
Swill picked up a lone qualifying point for fourth while Original completed the order of finish.
Live racing resumes Saturday at Aqueduct with a nine-race card highlighted by the $100,000 Gravesend for 4-year-olds and up going 6 1/2 furlongs in Race 8. First post is 12:20 p.m. Eastern.