Class tells tale in De Francis, BWI Turf Cup

by | Sep 21, 2019 | Breaking, Maryland, MD Racing, Racing, Top Stories

Killybegs Captain. Photo by Laurie Asseo.

On a day when horse racing protestors made their first visit to Laurel Park, class nevertheless told the tale in a pair of graded stakes.

Caribou Club — a multiple graded stakes winner entering off a victory — took the Grade 3 Baltimore/Washington International Turf Cup, while Killybegs Captain — recently third behind the ultra-fast Mitole in the Grade 1 Forego — surged to victory in the Grade 3 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash.

Caribou Club entered the Turf Cup with a resume that included career earnings of more than $550,000, two wins over the strip, and three wins in graded company. He was joined, in a rugged heat, by multiple graded winner Just Howard and Glorious Empire, a Grade 1 winner making his first start in nine months.

When the gates opened, the Jason Servis trainee Macagone gunned for the early lead with Glorious Empire in nearest pursuit through opening fractions of 23.57 seconds and 46.39 seconds for the half.

“There was always going to be a lot of speed in here,” said winning rider Feargal Lynch. “So we just decied to take our time. He’s got a good turn of foot. And he’s very adaptable. He’s a cool little horse.”

Caribou Club, towards the rear of the field early, moved closer rounding the turn, came wide for the drive, gained the lead in the final sixteenth, and held on to win by a head in 1:33.35 for a mile over firm turf. That running time was a track record.

“I just think we went very quick early,” Lynch said with a laugh. “I think it set up for a closer; the race just worked out that way. I wouldn’t pay too much attention to a track record today.”

Caribou Club returned $9.00 to win, and the exacta, with the Chad Brown-trained Frontier Market in second, paid $22.10 for a buck. Cullum Road was up for third, while Glorious Empire, the 2.90-1 favorite, had a useful return to the races, leading inside the furlong grounds before fading to sixth, but just two lengths behind the winner.

Caribou Club now has nine wins from 21 career starts. He’s trained by Tom Proctor for Glen Hill Farm, but the trainer declined comment following the race.

In the following race, the De Francis Dash, Killybegs Captain was a resolute winner in 1:08.10 for six furlongs — just .15 seconds off the track record established by Richter Scale in 2000 — on a fast main track.

“Right now, his momentum – I never had a doubt about him that he could win this race,” said winning rider Eric Cancel.

Cancel’s confidence in the John Terranova, II trainee was well placed. Last time out, he ran third, beaten three lengths, in the Grade 1 Forego at Saratoga. The winner that day, Mitole, is a one-of-a-kind runner, and certainly there was nothing of his quality in this event.

But it was a solid group that gathered here, and when the gates opened, it was local hopeful Old Time Revival who opened up a long lead while motoring the opening quarter-mile in 21.74 seconds and the half in 44.37.

Ohio invader Altissimo was giving willing chase in second, and after those early fractions, Killybegs Captain was revving up a run from third while five lengths back.

“Sometimes he has his good breaks, and sometimes he has his bad,” Cancel said. “Today he broke pretty decent. I put him the spot I really wanted to be. Once i asked him to run, he just started going.”

Killybegs Captain managed to slip through inside to the lead and held off a gallant try from Altissimo to win by three parts of a length. He Hate Me, the 6-5 favorite, finished third.

Killybegs Captain returned $7.80 to win and topped an exacta that paid $16.70 for a buck.

Killybegs Captain won for the sixth time in 24 career starts and pushed his earnings pas the half-million dollar mark.

He’s trained by John Terranova for Curragh Stables, and though Terranova did not make the trip, Cancel said he had a pretty good idea of what the game plan was.

“I mean, John didn’t tell me too many insructions because i’ve ridden the horse a few times already,” the jock said. “He just told me to ride him with a lot of confidence and bring back a winner.”

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Frank Vespe

Frank Vespe, the founder and publisher of The Racing Biz, has owned, bought, sold, claimed, written, and talked about horses, in varying combinations, for a decade. Email him at [email protected] or follow him on twitter @TheRacingBiz.

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