04/11/2012 11:41AM

Woodbine: Essence Hit Man adds Jacques Cartier win to Sovereign Award

Michael Burns
Esscence Hit Man, ridden by Jesse Campbell, wins the Jacques Cartier for the second straight year.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Essence Hit Man was a double winner here in the opening week of racing.

Last Thursday evening, Essence Hit Man took home for the Sovereign Award as Canada’s outstanding sprinter for his owner, trainer, and breeder Audre Cappuccitti. On Saturday afternoon, Essence Hit Man picked up where he left off with a front-running victory in the $168,300 Jacques Cartier at six furlongs.

Essence Hit Man, a 5-year-old gelding whom Cappuccitti owns with her husband, Gordon, had made a winning seasonal bow in last year’s Jacques Cartier and wound up his campaign with an impressive score in the six-furlong Kennedy Road on Nov. 19, and a month later was turned out for the winter in Florida.

“It didn’t take much to get him fit, because he’d run so late in the year,” said Audre Cappuccitti. “But to have him come out and run like that, I was thrilled.”

Essence Hit Man’s Jacque Cartier success under regular rider Jesse Campbell yielded a career high Beyer Speed Figure of 104.

And, the next logical spot for him is the May 6 Vigil, a seven-furlong race that offers Grade 3 status and a purse of $150,000. Essence Hit Man won the 2010 Queenston and finished second in last year’s Vigil in his previous main-track tries at seven furlongs.

Cappuccitti said she would like to run Essence Hit Man on turf this year. In the meantime, Cappuccitti is planning to school Essence Hit Man at the gate.

“He’s not coming out of the gate as good as he used to,” said Cappuccitti. “I don’t know what’s got into him. Jesse said he just dances around in there before the start. I’ll start sending him back to school at the gate and try and get that corrected.”

Cappuccitti, who has 32 stalls here, plans to maintain a division of horses at Fort Erie for the first time this year. She plans to have 15 there, and will be shipping some of her current stock to the Fort to make room for an influx of 2-year-olds later this month.

“I have 10 babies in Florida, and I’m really excited about some of them,” said Cappuccitti, who said those yearlings include a Grand Slam colt who is a half-brother to Essence Hit Man. The dam, El Prado Essence, also has a yearling by Exchange Rate.