VANCE SCHOLARS LEARNING ON THE JOB

Vance Scholars
Vance Scholars won an allowance race at Laurel Park. Photo Jim McCue.

Good thing the highs are so high in racing, because the lows can be pretty darn low.

Trainer Dale Capuano could smile a bit late Sunday afternoon after his promising two-year-old Vance Scholars rallied from midflight to win an allowance/optional claimer by a half-length, running down 17-1 shot Figlio Del Re.

It eased the sting, at least a little, of a day on which the undefeated Moquist, trained by Capuano for Mopo Racing, suffered a fatal injury during a morning work. 

Vance Scholars looked to be on his toes and raring to go in the paddock prior to Sunday’s race. But he stumbled out of the gate and was five lengths off the pace on a speed-favoring day. Nevertheless, he rallied wide under jockey Jorge Ruiz to run down Figlio Del Re.

“This is good,” Capuano said. “He’s been a good horse for us.

Vance Scholars, a Holy Boss gelding bred in Maryland by Anchor & Hope Farm, Is now two-for-two going a mile and winless at any other distance. He’s made two unsuccessful tries in stakes company — a fifth-place finish in the Delaware-certified First State Dash and an eighth in the Maryland Million Nursery — but both came sprinting.

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“He ran well the first time we ran him long,” the trainer said. “In the Maryland Million, I wheeled him back in six days [from his maiden victory], but he just can’t sprint with those horses. We really found that out for sure.”

Maybe not, but he looks formidable going long. Vance Scholars now has two wins from five career starts and has earned $70,530, a solid return on owner Steven Newby’s $22,000 purchase price.

Capuano has nominated Vance Scholars to the Dec. 4 Maryland Juvenile Championship and said he would “take a look” at that race. But his preference would be to keep the horse running longer races than the seven-eighths offered in that contest.

The three-year-old Moquist, four-for-four in her brief career, had been training towards her stakes debut, which was to take place in the Safely Kept Stakes Nov. 27 at Laurel Park.

“Tough day, no question,” Capuano said regarding Moquist. “That’s the bad part of racing.”

Moquist was owned by Maury Povich’s Mopo Racing, and Capuano described Povich’s reaction as “first class.” By Nyquist, Moquist was a half-sister to 2021 Breeders’ Cup Sprint winner Aloha West.

NOTES In a maiden special for two-year-olds earlier on the card, Joe, trained by Mike Trombetta and ridden by Victor Carrasco, graduated at second asking by 3 ½ lengths… In the Sunday feature, Mystical Man rallied from ninth of 10 to win a second-level allowance on the turf. He was ridden by Forest Boyce for Jack Fisher…

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