Updated on 09/16/2011 8:29AM

Include eyes Mass Cap repeat

Bill Denver/Equi-Photos
Include, a four-length winner of the Massachusetts Handicap last year, will seek to join a prestigious list of repeat winners.

Though it has been blessed with such stars as Cigar and Skip Away since being reinstated in 1995, the Massachusetts Handicap has rarely had a field as deep as the one that will enter the starting gate Saturday at Suffolk Downs, in East Boston, Mass.

With a field that includes 2000 juvenile champion Macho Uno, defending Mass Cap winner Include, Donn Handicap winner Mongoose, and the multiple stakes winner Evening Attire, the 63rd Mass Cap has proven the beneficiary of the cancellation of the Pimlico Special.

The $500,000 Mass Cap, a Grade 2 race run at nine furlongs, highlights a 14-race card that also includes the $150,000 James B. Moseley Handicap for sprinters and a pair of $30,000 turf stakes. First post is 11:45 a.m., with the Mass Cap scheduled to go off at 5:42 p.m.

Include, a four-length winner of this race last year, will seek to join a prestigious list of repeat winners that includes Fiddle (1944-45), Smart (1964-65), Cigar (1995-96), and Skip Away (1997-98). Include will be in the able hands of Jerry Bailey, who has won four of the last seven Mass Caps.

Include's started his 2001 campaign with a win in the Mass Cap, which put him atop the handicap division heading into the summer. But, he re-aggravated a splint injury while finishing third in the Suburban Handicap and he never returned to form the remainder of the year.

After six months away from the races, Include returned in April and won the restricted Jennings Handicap at Pimlico by nine lengths. He followed that with several solid workouts as he prepares for one of his sternest tests.

"We're running against some Grade 1 winners, Macho Uno and Mongoose," trainer Buddy Delp said. "This race might be tougher than last year's race with Broken Vow and Sir Bear. And, we're giving weight away. We'll find out what Include's made of this year on Saturday."

Include is the 120-pound highweight, meaning he'll concede 3 to 11 pounds to his eight rivals. In a race that lacks a true front-runner, Delp believes Include's tactical speed will give him an edge.

The horse that could wind up on the lead is Mongoose, who has raced up close in his last five starts, including his victory in the Grade 1 Donn Handicap. Trainer James Bond said Mongoose is better with something to run at, but "if he has to be on the lead, I guess he has to be."

In February, Mongoose won the Donn Handicap at Gulfstream Park for his fourth consecutive win. Bond said he outfoxed himself in the subsequent Gulfstream Park Handicap, telling Mongoose's jockey, Edgar Prado, to concern himself with Red Bullet. But, it was Hal's Hope who got away from Mongoose and went gate to wire, leaving Mongoose to settle for second.

Red Bullet's stablemate Macho Uno, owned by Frank Stronach, may be the horse to beat in the Mass Cap. Macho Uno made a smashing 4-year-old debut, winning an allowance at Gulfstream Park against Hail the Chief, who came back to win two graded stakes.

"After his allowance win I called Mr. Stronach in Austria and told him that we could be looking at a Horse of the Year," Orseno said. "I think he's as good a horse that is out there in the handicap division. He's mentally grown up and physically filled out. I've told all my friends and anyone who would listen, 'Watch what my horse does this year.' "

Thirty years ago, Pat Kelly was an assistant trainer for his father, Thomas, and saddled Droll Role to victory in the Mass Cap. Saturday, Kelly will saddle Evening Attire, owned by his father and Mary and Joe Grant of Quincy, Mass.

Evening Attire has won four of his last five starts, with his only loss during that span a fourth in the Excelsior Breeders' Cup Handicap, a race in which he was surprisingly on the lead.

John Little, who won the Excelsior, is a live longshot for owner-trainer Deborah Bodner. A 4-year-old Jersey-bred gelding, John Little has had seven weeks to recover from the Excelsior, the best performance of his career.



Purse: $500,000; 1 1/8 miles; Grade 2

1Soes BanditE. Jimenez11030-1
2Macho UnoG. Stevens1173-1
3Griffiniteno rider11115-1
4Evening AttireS. Bridgmohan1145-1
5Compelling WorldR. Rojas11020-1
6MongooseE. Prado1167-2
7IncludeJ. Bailey1209-5
8John LittleN. Arroyo Jr.11210-1
9Special TermsE. Molinari10950-1

Odds by Mike Watchmaker

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