Updated on 09/15/2011 12:17PM

At 59, rider returns to winner's circle


MIAMI - The name Joe Capodici might have been unfamiliar to the majority of the fans on hand for Thursday's opening-day program, but backstretch regulars and long-time Calder patrons had little trouble remembering the veteran rider, who road Icanseetherain to victory in the afternoon's third race.

Capodici, who turns 60 on June 1, won the last race on the first program ever presented at Calder, in 1971. He has not ridden in this country in 15 years although he spent some time riding in Europe, primarily Greece, in the 1990's. Icanseetherain was the first horse he had ridden in a race in five years.

"It's funny I should win my first race on a horse who came from so far back, because I was always known for winning with front-runners," Capodici said. "I was the best gate rider around. Me and Walter [Blum]. I've either ridden or galloped horses for just about everybody on the grounds here and it feels great to be back riding again. I've been getting on this horse every morning, knew he liked this track and to run on the outside, and thought he'd run big."

Capodici rode Icanseetherain to victory for trainer Angelo Camillo. Icanseetherain paid $26.40 and was one of a parade of longshots who dominated the opening-day card, on which no favorite won in 10 races. The shortest-priced winner was Dynamite Diablo, who led throughout under Rosemary Homeister Jr. to win the featured Spirit of Fighter Handicap. Trainer by Bobby Hale, she paid $5.80 as the second choice behind odds on favorite Sugar N Spice. The victory was Dynamite Diablo's sixth in seven starts over the local strip.


Trainer Mohammed Moubarak has had high hopes for Tubrok since early in his 3-year-old season when the colt won the Grade 3 Everglades Stakes at Gulfstream Park.

Unfortunately Moubarak had to put Tubrok's career on hold after his next start, the Crown Royal American Stakes at Churchill Downs, when Tubrok came out of the race with a chip in his right knee, requiring surgery. Following a nine-month vacation, Tubrok returned to action this winter at Gulfstream, but is just now rounding back to his best form. Moubarak is hoping that he will be good enough to win Monday's Red Bank Handicap at Monmouth Park.

Tubrok, a son of Rahy, has made four starts since launching his comeback Feb. 4 at Gulfstream and has showed steady progress. He will enter the Red Bank off an impressive 1 1/4-length allowance victory going a mile at Keeneland on April 26.

"His last performance was super and we're hoping he will progress again on Monday," said Moubarak, who trains Tubrok for the Buckram Oak Farm. "I chose the Red Bank because the distance [one mile] is good for him and it's a Grade 3 stakes. Ultimately, we'd like to think he might prove good enough to run in the Breeders' Cup Mile and if he can progress to that point we're going to need to pick up some points to get into the race."

Rene Douglas will fly to Monmouth to ride Tubrok in the Red Bank.

One of Moubarak's main rivals in the Red Bank will be another Calder-based runner, Pavillon, who come comes off a tiring fifth behind Del Mar Show and Honor Glide in the 1 3/16-mile Hialeah Turf Cup on April 21.

"This horse won three Group 1 races going a mile in Brazil before coming over to this country," said Pavillon's trainer Marty Wolfson. "He actually made a run to join the leaders inside the quarter pole in the Turf Cup before flattening out and I just think 1 3/16 miles was too far for him. A mile is his distance and he couldn't be doing better."