11/21/2011 1:00PM

Woodbine: New bit boosts Essence Hit Man in Kennedy Road


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - While Atlantic Hurricane’s success in the Bessarabian on Saturday brought some clarity to the female sprint division, Essence Hit Man thrust himself into an already muddled picture for male sprinter honors with his victory in Saturday’s $174,000 Kennedy Road.

A change of equipment seemingly worked wonders there as trainer Audre Cappuccitti switched bits and then watched the 4-year-old Essence Hit Man make his speed stand up in the Grade 3, six-furlong Kennedy Road.

Essence Hit Man won the Jacques Cartier in his seasonal bow but then lost his next four races, including a second-place finish in the six-furlong allowance prep for the Kennedy Road.

“I was happy for him to redeem himself,” said Cappuccitti.

Essence Hit Man set rapid fractions in the allowance prep and weakened in the late stages. A change to a ring bit for a Nov. 13 work gave jockey Jesse Campbell more control of Essence Hit Man, Cappuccitti said, and the horse responded to the change in the race, too.

Essence Hit Man, who was bred and is owned by Cappuccitti and her husband, Gordon Cappuccitti, soon will be heading to the farm in Florida and may race there, too.

Cappuccitti has five yearlings at Ocala’s Classic Mile and another two in South Carolina with Webb Carroll.

Euro Platinum, the barn’s only other stakes winner at the meeting, will winter in Ontario. She had what Cappuccitti called a “suspensory problem” and has been turned out.

Euro Platinum upset the $125,000 Algoma, a yearling sales stakes for fillies and mares on Sept. 5.

Campbell intends to return

Essence Hit Man also was the icing on the cake in a successful meeting for Campbell, who rode at Woodbine for the first time this year.

The 34-year-old Campbell, whose home is in the Chicago area, had competed mainly on a Fair Grounds-Arlington circuit before staying in Louisiana last year.

Campbell rode his sixth winner of the week here Sunday and then hit the road for the Fair Grounds, where he is named on two horses on Friday’s card.

Campbell said he enjoyed his time here.

“It’s close to home, and I really like Toronto,” he said. “I had a lot of fun here.”

Campbell, who was accompanied here by his agent, Lindy McDaniel, had a meet record of 60-65-60 for earnings of $3.2 million from 525 mounts.

“We didn’t have any goals for number of wins or monetarily, but we really exceeded all our expectations,” said Campbell. I was surprised what we could do the first year, when essentially we were building up a foundation for next year.I got to Toronto literally the day before opening day, and with my agent and I being new it took time for us to get to know people and for people to get to know us. Things really picked up in August. We started riding in a lot of stakes, and riding for a lot of people.”

Campbell came to Canada with a one-year work permit, which will expire at the end of the month. He said he intends to apply for a three-year permit so he can return to Woodbine next year.