03/07/2013 4:37PM

Aqueduct: Capossela a sensible spot for Clawback

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Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Clawback will be kept sprinting this year and pointed toward the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

OZONE PARK, N.Y. – The connections of Clawback seem to have found the cure for Derby fever: common sense.

Though they admittedly toyed with the idea of stretching Clawback out in distance in last week’s Grade 3 Gotham Stakes, trainer Rick Violette and his owners Seth Klarman and Bill Lawrence ultimately passed and opted for Saturday’s $100,000 Fred “Cappy” Capossela Stakes going six furlongs at Aqueduct.

Clawback, a son of Put It Back, has excelled at six furlongs – he won the Jimmy Winkfield by five lengths last month – looks likes a sprinter, and has a sprinter’s pedigree. So, rather than make a run for the roses, Clawback’s itinerary will include races like the Woody Stephens and King’s Bishop. If all goes well, the year-end goal would be the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

“It wasn’t easy, because there’s no right decision,” Violette said Thursday by phone from south Florida. “Numbers-wise – sheet numbers and Beyers – he’s a very, very good sprinter. I don’t think we think he’s a mile-and-a-quarter horse on his best day pedigree-wise and the way he looks. It was kind of being conservative, taking what’s given to you. We came to the conclusion this is what you’re supposed to do.”

One of the reasons Violette thought about stretching Clawback out was he believes the colt has the mentality to settle in his races. That mentality will likely come in handy in the Capossela with horses like the undefeated Whiskey Romeo and recent stakes winner Rubysandpearls figuring to contest the early pace.

Leaving from post 5, with Whiskey Romeo to his inside and Rubysandpearls to his outside, Irad Ortiz Jr. should be able to work out a stalking trip on Clawback.

“It’d be fine with me if were tracking somebody,” Violette said.

Weekend Hideaway figures to try and work out a stalking trip under Jose Ortiz. Weekend Hideaway won two New York-bred stakes last year. In his 3-year-old debut, Weekend Hideaway finished fifth, beaten three lengths, in the Grade 2 Hutcheson at Gulfstream Park.

“I underestimated my competition in his first race back,” trainer Phil Serpe said. “He only got beat three lengths, he came back good, he’s training good. After the other race, I wanted to back him up a step.”

Whiskey Romeo went 3 for 3 as a juvenile, including a victory in the seven-furlong Marylander Stakes in which he stumbled and tore off a piece of his right front foot, known as a grabbed quarter. Trainer Tony Dutrow believes his son of Forestry will be on the lead early.

“That’s what he wants to do,” Dutrow said.

Rubysandpearls comes off a front-running victory in the Java Gold Stakes after setting the pace before fading to third against Clawback in the Jimmy Winkfield.

“We’re definitely a better horse than the last time we ran against him,” trainer David Jacobson said.

Jacobson also will send out Tenango, who was purchased privately by Lawrence Roman following the gelding’s maiden win for $40,000 claiming at Santa Anita on New Year’s Day.

Maleeh, a debut winner for the Kiaran McLaughlin stable, and Silver Moran, a winner of 2 of 3 starts for Guadalupe Preciado, complete the field.