Eclipse Takes Aim at Major Graded Stakes in Kentucky Saturday
Capo Bastone’s career has been selectively managed from the moment the colt was acquired by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners in Florida one year ago. Every move has been carefully thought through and his development has been orchestrated methodically and with pinpoint precision so as to maximize his immense physical abilities.
Despite the meticulous attention the “Underboss” has received, there are certain variables beyond his or his human connections’ control which can and will affect his chance to achieve the ultimate glory on the 1st Saturday in May.
On Wednesday, one such event beyond Capo’s and his human connections’ control occurred in Florence, Kentucky when the post position draw for Saturday’s running of the Grade 3, $550,000 Spiral Stakes revealed that Eclipse’s prized sophomore would be required to break from the 12-hole going 9 furlongs over Turfway Park’s Polytrack.
“Todd (Pletcher) and I exchanged some expletives to express our disgust with the post position Capo received,” Eclipse President, Aron Wellman admitted. “It’s not a death sentence by any means, but there’s no doubt that being parked out so wide could significantly compromise Capo’s chances in the Spiral. After venting to each other for several minutes, Todd and I regained our focus on the task at hand and started drawing positives from the hand we’ve been dealt.”
“He can’t be any wider than he was the other day at Gulfstream,” the Godfather correctly pointed out. “And that didn’t stop him. Is it ideal? Of course not. But, it’s not hopeless.”
Once moving on from the post position drama, Pletcher shared, “Capo is really peaking right now. He was just starting to turn the corner in his final workout in preparation for his Allowance race and since that race he’s been a completely different animal. His muscle tone has sharpened, his coat has dappled out and he appears to be much, much more aggressive in his training. I take all of these signs as a horse who is thriving. We couldn’t be any more pleased with the manner in which he’s coming into this race.”
“Sure, we’d like to have had a more central post to work with, but in handicapping this race, there’s no doubt that this is the right spot,” Pletcher affirmed. “The timing of the race is perfect and if he ships well and takes to the surface, I expect a big, big performance from him.”
Wellman concluded, “We can hyper-analyze this race from now until the end of time, but what this all boils down to is our horse and our jockey. We’ve prepared Capo and he’s coming into this race as good as possible. And, we have the best jockey in the world riding for us. John (Velazquez) knows Capo and he is the best of the best when It comes to being a tactician. We fully realize a lot of luck will have to come our way for this to result in a win. That said, we are confident in our horse and we know we’ve got the best there is in the saddle.”
Post time is 5:50 ET, 2:50 PT. The race will be televised live on TVG and will be streamed live on www.tvg.com , www.twinspires.com and www.xpressbet.com.
Silsita Stuck Out Wide in 11-Hole in Graded Stakes Debut on Saturday
Silsita has always trained like a Graded Stakes caliber filly since being transferred into the care of Todd Pletcher last November and on Saturday, the gray daughter of Macho Uno will have the opportunity to prove it when she lines up against 11 other sophomore fillies in the Grade 3, $100,000 Bourbonette Oaks at Turfway Park.
A dozen fillies will spring from the gate at 5:14 ET (televised live on TVG), at which time, John Velazquez will have to call upon all his skill and poise in an effort to provide Silsita with a fighting chance from Post 11. The short run into the first turn will pose a serious challenge for Velazquez and Silsita, who have plenty of zip to put themselves forward from the get-go, but how much energy she’ll have to expend in an attempt to save as much ground as possible will determine whether she’ll have enough gas in the tank once the real running starts.
“Not quite where we wanted to draw,” Todd Pletcher confessed. “But, it’s not tragic either. We’d prefer to have a target for Silsita to run at, rather than be on the lead, but that’ll be up to John (Velazquez). It does look like there’s some speed down inside of us, so if we do take back a little, John should be able to avoid much kickback, which could bother Silsita since she’s never dealt with that before. She’s training just as well, if not better than ever, so we’re going over there with confidence. Pure Fun is a really nice, classy filly, but after her, we feel as though we fit pretty well.”
Eclipse President, Aron Wellman, offered, “The post position draw didn’t come out quite as favorable as we’d hoped, but like Todd said, it’s not devastating. If she’s on her game and John can somehow manage to get her to save a touch of ground and relax a little better with the intention of finishing strong, we could be OK. The fact that we’re the 6-1 co-second choice tells me we’re in the right spot to try to make a run at some Graded black type for $100,000.”
Wellman concluded, “If Silsita takes to the Poly like we hope she will and John can somehow manage to provide her with a somewhat comfortable journey, all we can ask for is that she has dead-aim turning for home. From the elbow of the far turn, it will be a matter of if she can dig down and separate herself from the pack and have enough left in the tank to fend off the certain late charge from Pure Fun and co.”
The race will be televised live on TVG and will be streamed live on www.tvg.com , www.twinspires.com and www.xpressbet.com.