07/15/2013 12:44PM

Woodbine: Essence Hit Man looks to repeat in Bold Venture

Michael Burns
Essence Hit Man won the Jacques Cartier Stakes for the second straight year in April and will look to repeat in the Grade 3 Bold Venture on Wednesday.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Two-time Canadian champion sprinter Essence Hit Man will try to rebound from his surprising loss in last month’s Grade 3 Vigil Stakes on Wednesday night at Woodbine, where he’ll aim to win the Grade 3 Bold Venture Stakes for the second year in a row.

The $150,000 Bold Venture, a 6 1/2-furlong dash, lured five other fine sprinters, including the track record holder for the distance, Consolidator Joe.

Essence Hit Man was on his toes for his season opener in the Jacques Cartier Stakes, which he won for the second straight time April 27. After darting out to his customary position on the lead, he drew off in the stretch to score by four lengths in 1:08.83, earning a 100 Beyer Speed Figure.

Essence Hit Man was bet down to 7-10 in the June 2 Vigil. He got away with relatively slow fractions in the seven-furlong sprint but came up a half-length short of Laugh Track.

Regular rider Jesse Campbell said Essence Hit Man simply wasn’t at his best in the Vigil but has excelled in the interim.

“He’s trained well since his last race,” Campbell said. “He’s had four works. I’m just hoping for a good break and to let him run his race. When he got beat the other day, he was done at the wire, and he didn’t gallop out at all, and he always gallops out. I had a hint that something was going on there, and hopefully we have everything straightened out.”

Larry Cappuccitti trains Essence Hit Man for A&G Racing Stable.

Consolidator Joe has won two second-level optional claimers and a pair of claiming races since trainer Ross Armata haltered him for a bargain $25,000 last September.

Consolidator Joe set a soft opening quarter-mile before cruising to victory when he last saw action in a May 12 optional claimer. He lowered Woodbine’s 6 1/2-furlong Polytrack record that day by .04 of a second to 1:14.50 while earning a career-best 100 Beyer.

Paso Doble and Bear Tough Tiger both were scratched from the July 7 Highlander Stakes.

The durable 7-year-old Paso Doble notched the third restricted stakes win of his career May 20 in the six-furlong New Providence. He is exiting a second on turf in the allowance prep for the Highlander.

Bear Tough Tiger, an eight-time winner in 14 starts, wound up second to Essence Hit Man in the Jacques Cartier but was ineffective on grass most recently in the Grade 2 Connaught Cup.

Court of the Realm is returning from an eight-month layoff, and the Kentucky shipper Dimension was supplemented for $3,000.