07/26/2008 12:00AM

Capitano handles switch back to dirt


Capitano hadn't raced on dirt in more than three years or won over the surface in more than four years, but he had no problem when Friday night's $75,000 Ligature Stakes at Penn National Race Course was taken off the turf.

Ridden for the first time by Rosemary Homeister Jr., the 7-year-old Capitano ($5.20) rallied to defeat 4-5 favorite Delaware River by three-quarters of a length in the 1 1/16-mile stakes restricted to Pennsylvania-breds.

It was Capitano's first start for trainer Graham Motion, his first race on dirt since March 2005, and his first win over the surface since May 2004 at Hollywood Park. He completed the distance in 1:44.80 while winning for the seventh time in 36 lifetime starts. It also ended five-race losing streak, dating back to a nose victory in the Turf Paradise Handicap on the grass in February 2007.

Probable favorite Auction Watch was one of five scratches when the race was moved from the turf to the main track.