Next romps to record in Cape Henlopen

Thursday’s $150,000 Cape Henlopen Stakes for three-year-olds and up at Delaware Park was forced off the turf after rains this week.

That reduced the field to five – and it suited Next and his connections just fine. Next, a four-year-old Not This Time gelding trained by William Cowans for Michael Foster, ran his four rivals off their feet, galloping to an 18 ¼-length victory.

The triumph gave Next five wins from 14 career outings and pushed his earnings to $360,844. The win was his second stakes victory.

Under jockey Luan Machado, Next stalked the pace of Highway Bound, who led by 1 ½ lengths after a half-mile in 48.87 seconds and still maintained a length advantage after a mile in 1:41.22, Next in second at both markers.

Next took over approaching the quarter-pole and drew away smartly. He completed the final quarter-mile in a sharp 23.54 seconds to complete the 12 furlongs in 2:30.25 over a wet fast surface. That broke Bam’s track record, 2:31, that had stood since 1948 at this rarely used distance.

“He is an extremely nice and easy horse to ride,” said winning rider Luan Machado.  “I thought we could have been on the front, but I did not get the break.  He broke good but not as fast as I thought he could be, so I just took a hold on him and let him settle into a nice pace.  When I asked him, he responded so quick, fast and easy, it was something.  He really exploded in the stretch, but he was just breezing.”

The Dale Capuano-trained Vance Scholars, who had finished 10th in the Virginia Derby on Tuesday, bounced back to be second today, nearly four lengths clear of show horse and 4-5 post time favorite Alex Joon, who was well clear of the rest.

Next, off as the third choice in the field of five, paid $8.40 to win. The exacta, with 5-2 Vance Scholars underneath, returned $17.40 on a one-dollar wager.

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