11/19/2011 4:35PM

Woodbine: Essence Hit Man carries his speed in Kennedy Road

Michael Burns
Essence Hit Man puts himself in consideration for a Sovereign Award as Canada's champion sprinter by taking the Kennedy Road in near track-record time.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario—The speedy Essence Hit Man threatened his own six-furlong track record in Saturday’s Grade 3, $174,000 Kennedy Road Stakes at Woodbine.

Essence Hit Man ($17.70) set relatively slow, wind-aided fractions of 22.50 and 44.57 seconds under Jesse Campbell. He had a 2 1/2-length lead at the eighth pole, before coasting home on top by 1 1/4 lengths over Gypsy Ring. Signature Red checked in third, and favored Paso Doble trailed the quality six-horse field. The final time of 1:08.75 was .59 of a second off the Polytrack record.

Campbell rode Essence Hit Man for the first time in a runner-up finish off a layoff in the allowance prep for the Kennedy Road.

“The biggest thing was that race under his belt, a little tightener,” said Campbell. “And we changed the bit on him. He really let me ride him at the end of the race, which made a big difference. I had a ton of horse at the five-sixteenths pole, and I thought about asking him to open up, but I sat on him for another sixteenth, and he really responded when I asked him.”

The victory, which was his second in a stakes this year, made Essence Hit Man a contender for the Sovereign Award as Canadian champion sprinter. He collected $108,000 for the partnership of Gord Cappuccitti and trainer Audre Cappuccitti.