10/18/2008 12:00AM

Turf Sprint: Capuano ready for Cup debut


Trainer Dale Capuano will make his Southern California and Breeders' Cup debut when he saddles Heros Reward in the $1 million Turf Sprint. Capuano, 45, is based in Maryland and said he is looking forward to the change of scenery - however brief it may be.

"It's pretty exciting, but just like any other race you try to prepare for, you just get him ready," Capuano said. "Probably by Thursday you get keyed up a little bit. Being from Maryland we don't get to see that many nice horses except on Preakness day. It'll be nice to be around some high-quality horses."

Heros Reward fits that bill. A 6-year-old gelded son of Partner's Hero, Heros Reward has

10 wins, 7 seconds, and 2 thirds from 27 starts. He has banked $881,341. Capuano said Heros Reward thrives on firm turf - really firm.

"The last couple of times he's run it's been listed firm, but it's not been real hard," Capuano said. "From what I hear out there, it's been dry and it's been pretty firm. He'll really like that."

Though he's run 18 times on turf, the Turf Sprint will be his first start at 6 1/2 furlongs.

"It looks like those type of races go in about 1:12. That should be right up his alley," Capuano said. "It's awful quick time, but it should be to his liking."

On Saturday, at Laurel, Heros Reward worked five furlongs in 1:01.60 over the dirt course. Exercise rider Johnny Poe was aboard for the move.