07/17/2006 11:00PM

Capital Crime a new horse this year

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OCEANPORT, N.J. - Capital Crime lacks the experience of his seven rivals in the $40,000 second-level allowance feature at six furlongs Thursday at Monmouth Park. A 4-year-old gelding, he makes only his fifth career start against horses whose resumes include 11 to 31 starts.

The edge for , however, is his potential. While most of the competition has already found its niche, Capital Crime has improved considerably this year, with victories in both of his starts. He won his maiden at Philadelphia Park in March, cruising by 5 3/4 lengths while posting an 82 Beyer Speed Figure, and went on to beat winners on Monmouth's opening weekend, May 14, scoring by 1 1/4 lengths while posting an 89 Beyer. The wins were in striking contrast to his two starts last season, when he lost by 13 1/4 and 18 1/4 lengths.

"He trained well last year, but he ran a couple of subpar races for us," said trainer Greg Sacco. "We really couldn't get a handle on it. There were some minor things with his ankles. We were very high on him from the beginning, so we decided to give him six months off."

The vacation at Red Oak Farm in Ocala, Fla., with Sacco's brother Rick worked wonders.

"It did him a world of good," Sacco said. "My brother, when he sent him to me this spring, said he's training as good as ever."

Capital Crime suffered a setback after the Monmouth victory when he kicked the barn wall and suffered a hind-leg infection that cost him a month of training.

"We probably wouldn't have given him the two months off between races," Sacco said. "He's come back well and trained super. We'll see if he can take another step forward."

Unlike Capital Crime, is a warhorse who will make his 32nd career start Thursday. A 6-year-old, he saved ground along the inside in his most recent outing, the Colts Neck Stakes for New Jersey-breds, and faded badly in the lane. Trainer Frankie Costa will lighten Jay's Wish's burden by switching to seven-pound apprentice jockey Mario Madrid.

, owned and trained by Danny Lopez, was second in the Colts Neck as the 8-5 favorite. He is winless in four starts this season, with three seconds and a third. His Beyers in the four races make him a key contender, however, especially the career-best 99 he earned last time out.