11/12/2004 1:00AM

Cappuccitti sets sights on Florida


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Owner and trainer Audre Cappuccitti generally spends the off-season in Ontario, wintering her charges on the farm and shipping back to the Woodbine backstretch early to prepare for the new meeting.

But Cappuccitti will be taking a new tack this year, as later this month she plans to head south to Florida, where she has 12 stalls at Palm Meadows.

"I might run a few at Gulfstream," said Cappuccitti. "First, I'm going to give them a break."

One of the beneficiaries of Cappuccitti's plan will be March With Me, who has emerged as a candidate for next year's 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate with impressive victories around two turns in his last two starts.

March With Me's latest success came here Thursday, when he won the mile and 70-yard prep for the Display Stakes under rider Emile Ramsammy.

Rallying from last in the field of seven, March With Me was a 2 3/4-length winner and earned a career-high Beyer Speed Figure of 76.

"I knew the longer the better for him," said Cappuccitti, who purchased March With Me for $55,000 at the local select yearling sale. "That's what he wanted, just a little more ground. I even think he'll go much further than a mile and a sixteenth. He's just been starting to get into gear in the last two furlongs."

March With Me was unplaced while sprinting in his first three starts, then ran fourth when trying two turns for the first time before winning his maiden over 1 1/16 miles.

"He's still learning," said Cappuccitti. "He's so big and gangly. He's still got a lot of maturing to do."

March With Me, a gelding by Parade Ground out of the Majestic Light mare Shine is Mine, is not eligible for the Queen's Plate but can be supplemented at a cost of $5,000.

"If things keep going like this, I don't mind," said Cappuccitti. "He'll run in the Display. That will be it for him this year."

The $125,000 Display, an open race at 1 1/16 miles, is scheduled for Nov. 27.

El Prado Essence to Bessarabian

El Prado Essence, owned by Cappuccitti in partnership with her husband, Gordon, is slated to make her next start in the Grade 3, $150,000 Bessarabian here Nov. 28.

"She's doing great," said Cappuccitti. "I'm more than happy with her."

El Prado Essence has competed in three previous editions of the seven-furlong Bessarabian, finishing second in 2000 and 2003, and could be headed to the breeding shed after this year's running.

A 7-year-old Kentucky-bred, El Prado Essence was slated to retire this year after being bred to Grindstone, but she lost that foal and was put back into training.

In her first start of the year, El Prado Essence finished second to Winter Garden in the 6 1/2-furlong prep for the Seaway Stakes here Aug. 22.

El Prado Essence then finished third in the seven-furlong Seaway, won by Brass in Pocket, and was making her first start in eight weeks when second to Winter Garden in the six-furlong Ontario Fashion here Nov. 6.

"She's had tough luck hooking Winter Garden - she's a monster," said Cappuccitti. "But I was surprised how well my filly ran last time on the rail. She's much better flying on the outside."

Cappuccitti also said she believes El Prado Essence will be more effective at the Bessarabian distance.

Classic Stamp works seven

Classic Stamp, a leading candidate for a Sovereign Award in the filly and mare turf category, breezed seven furlongs on the training track in 1:28.40 here Friday with apprentice jockey Emma Wilson in the irons.

"It was a bit of a tiring track," said Cliff Hopmans, who trains Classic Stamp for owner-breeder Bill Sorokolit. "She's dead fit; we just let her stretch her legs. She's good to go."

Classic Stamp and Hopmans are scheduled to leave for Churchill Downs on Monday to prepare for Saturday's Grade 3, $150,000 Cardinal Handicap, a 1 1/8-mile turf race for fillies and mares. Pat Day has the mount.

"I want to get her there in time to get her acclimated and school her in the paddock," said Hopmans.

Classic Stamp, a 4-year-old, won the Grade 2 Canadian Handicap over 1 1/8 miles of turf here Sept. 19 and then finished an unlucky third, beaten just three-quarters of a length, in the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor over 1 1/4 miles on grass.

Norfolk Knight prepares for Slots Cup

Norfolk Knight worked five furlongs in 1:00.80 on the main track Friday in preparation for the Grade 3, $150,000 Woodbine Slots Cup, a 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-olds and upward next Saturday.

A 5-year-old gelding trained by Hugo Dittfach, Norfolk Knight will be seeking his fourth straight score.

In his last start Oct. 31 here, Norfolk Knight won the 1 1/16-mile allowance prep for the Slots Cup by 10 3/4 lengths under regular rider Jill Scharfstein.

Also heading for the Slots Cup is A Bit O'Gold, a 3-year-old gelding who would be trying older rivals for the first time.

A Bit O'Gold has earned more than $1 million this year and is the leading candidate for Sovereign Award honors in his division.