12/01/2006 12:00AM

Makeithapencaptain causing a stir


CHICAGO - Kentucky Derby dreams in December at Hawthorne? Perhaps not a completely absurd scenario, given the performance turned in on Wednesday by a 2-year-old colt named Makeithapencaptain.

Trained by Bret Calhoun for owner Robert Beck, Makeithapencaptain has the makings of a nice horse, scoring blowout wins in a sprint maiden race here Oct. 14, a race that he won by almost nine lengths, and in an entry-level route allowance Wednesday, which he won by more than 16 lengths. Makeithapencaptain had finished third in his career debut in a tough Arlington Park maiden race, and appears to have an appealing combination of speed and stamina.

Purchased for $75,000 out of a 2-year-olds in training sale this past spring (Calhoun said he thought the colt would go for more than that), Makeithapencaptain is by Aptitude, a long-winded route horse, and out of the Storm Cat mare Sharp Feline.

"The Aptitudes, I haven't seen very many of them that have that kind of speed," Calhoun said. "I knew in my mind he wanted to stretch out. Coming out of that race the other day, he wouldn't have taken a deep breath."

It's difficult saying just how much quality Makeithapencaptain has, since he was a 2-5 favorite over four obviously overmatched rivals Wednesday. That said, the colt had some early trouble, set a brisk pace, and still had plenty left for his stretch run, getting 1 1/16 miles over a sloppy track in 1:46.60 - a more than respectable clocking given the conditions.

Calhoun said he chose the Hawthorne race over spots at Churchill and Fair Grounds because Hawthorne's was the only two-turn dirt race. And he said he chose to develop the colt in Chicago to avoid the heat of the summer in the south. But now, it is on to Fair Grounds: Makeithapencaptain will ship there in about a week. Calhoun has penciled in the Jan. 13 Lecomte Stakes as a likely next start, but cautioned that he might not be training the horse by then, since Makeithapencaptain could be privately sold.

"Obviously, the phone's ringing off the wall since he won, so I don't know if we'll still have him or not," said Calhoun.

Star by Design may try allowance

The talented Star by Design, who scored blowout wins in two recent allowance races, with a good stakes try at Prairie Meadows sandwiched in between, had to miss a recent stakes race at Mountaineer Park because of a mild illness, trainer Richard Hazelton said. Star by Design could start instead in an upcoming Hawthorne allowance race, after which he is likely to be shut down until next season.

Meanwhile, Hazelton said his unbeaten 2-year-old Caruso continues to do well, though Hazelton expressed concern about the onset of winter weather as he readies Caruso for the Jim Edgar Futurity on Dec. 16.

"He's doing real good, but I wouldn't want to get him off a schedule," said Hazelton.

Coragil Cat fits in feature

Nine 2-year-olds were entered in the Sunday feature, carded at six furlongs for entry-level allowance horses or $50,000 claimers. There are no Makeithapencaptains in this bunch, but Coragil Cat does exit an allowance try at Keeneland, and fits the spot based on a September maiden win at Arlington.

Another maiden winner, Pirate Saint, turned in a two-length maiden win Nov. 11 at Hawthorne, and came back to post a bullet five-furlong work for trainer Jim DiVito. And Wayne Catalano has the debut winner My Best Pal Red back for the first time since he won at first asking, also on Oct. 14 at Hawthorne. Churchill Downs shipper Need Money Dad also figures to attract betting support.