07/18/2013 2:06PM

Woodbine notes: Conquest Two Step gets first stakes test in Colin

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Michael Burns
Essence Hit Man (inside) won Wednesday's Grade 3 Bold Venture Stakes to give trainer Larry Cappuccitti his first stakes win.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Conquest Two Step lived up to his billing in his debut, rolling to an impressive victory in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden race at Churchill Downs on June 21 that yielded a Beyer Speed Figure of 81.

On Saturday, Conquest Two Step will move to Woodbine’s Polytrack for his second start, and he looms as the horse to beat in a field of seven 2-year-olds for the $125,000, six-furlong Colin Stakes.

Conquest Two Step, purchased for $420,000 in April in Ocala, Fla., dueled through the early stages of his opener before moving clear for a two-length victory under Shaun Bridgmohan, who will be here for the Colin.

“Normally, we like them to rate a little, but when he came out sharply, we just let him go out,” said Casse, who conditions Conquest Two Step for Ernie Semersky and Dory Newell. “He ran good.”

Casse also noted that Ride On Curlin, the runner-up that day, came back to romp by almost eight lengths while setting a track record of 1:03 for 5 1/2 furlongs at Ellis Park. And Casse is not particularly concerned about the switch to Polytrack.

“We bought him off it,” Casse said. “At Ocala Breeders’ Sales, they’re working on” a synthetic surface.

Conquest Two Step, who drew post 5 for the Colin, also has breezed twice on the main track here, to Casse’s satisfaction.

“I like the way he handled it,” Casse said. “He looked pretty comfortable.”

Go Greeley and Ba Ba Brett both enter the Colin off second-place finishes in stakes races here. Trainer John Ross watched Go Greeley almost overcome a slow start from the No. 1 post when he missed by a nose in the 5 1/2-furlong Clarendon Stakes for Ontario-foaled 2-year-olds July 7.

Go Greeley, also owned by Ross, had been an impressive debut winner seven weeks earlier, and Eurico Rosa da Silva retains the mount as the colt breaks from post 3 in the Colin.

Ba Ba Brett, trained by Ricky Griffith, was beaten 2 3/4 lengths when debuting in the open, five-furlong Victoria Stakes on June 22.

Griffith also will send out Tuscan Getaway, a sharp winner over five furlongs in his second career start at Delaware Park last month.

Ba Ba Brett, who drew post 6, with Chris Griffith getting the return call, and Tuscan Getaway, breaking from the 2 hole under David Garcia, race for the Debmar Stable of Glenn Harvey and Steve Duffield.

Rounding out the field will be Enthrone, who finished fifth when debuting in the Victoria and will be running with Lasix for the first time; Danny Ocean, fourth behind Go Greeley in his only start May 19; and Tropic of Artie, a first-time starter.

Cappuccitti gets first stakes win

Larry Cappuccitti, a son of the late Audre Cappuccitti, enjoyed his first official stakes win as a trainer when Essence Hit Man went wire to wire in the $168,000 Bold Venture here Wednesday night.

The 46-year-old Cappuccitti has been running the family stable since his mother died last November, but he had yet to obtain his trainer’s license when the 6-year-old Essence Hit Man began his 2013 campaign with a victory in the six-furlong Jacques Cartier Stakes in April.

“It’s a pleasure to work with such a beautiful horse,” Cappuccitti said the morning after watching Essence Hit Man win the 6 1/2-furlong Bold Venture for the second year in a row under regular rider Campbell. “Mom kept him sound from 2 to 5, and my father entrusted him to me. I changed a couple of things, like taking the blinkers off him.”

Gord Cappuccitti, who bred and owned Essence Hit Man with trainer Audre, now races the gelding under the name A&G Racing Stable.

Larry Cappuccitti, who grew up with horses and used to compete in barrel racing, had worked with his mother for 13 years and took out his assistant trainer’s license in 2012.

“I had 21 horses for her at Fort Erie last year,” said Cappuccitti, who has 34 in his shed row here.

Cappuccitti is unsure where he will go next with Essence Hit Man, who earned a 90 Beyer for his Bold Venture score. The next suitable local opportunity could be a new $100,000 overnight sprint stakes at six furlongs for 3-year-olds and up scheduled for Oct. 2.

Sophomores picking spots

Pyrite Mountain and Niigon’s Glory both breezed four furlongs over the dirt training track here Thursday and are possibilities for Fort Erie’s $500,000 Prince of Wales Stakes. The 1 3/16-mile Prince of Wales, the second leg of the Triple Crown for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, will be run on dirt July 30.

Pyrite Mountain, a non-threatening seventh in the 1 1/4-mile Queen’s Plate after winning the 1 1/16-mile Wando Stakes and then finishing a close fourth in the 1 1/8-mile Plate Trial, was clocked in 48.40 seconds under jockey Gary Boulanger.

“I just wanted to give him an easy half,” trainer Mark Frostad said. “He’s already worked well on dirt.”

Clocker Cliff Kuan caught Pyrite Mountain galloping out five furlongs in 1:01.80 and pulling up through six furlongs in 1:17.

Frostad believes Pyrite Mountain’s best surface is turf, but that the distance of the $500,000 Breeders’ Stakes, the 1 1/2-mile turf race that concludes the Canadian Triple Crown here Aug. 18, may not be ideal.

“At a mile or a mile and a sixteenth on turf, I’d put him up against anybody here,” Frostad said.

Pyrite Mountain also is nominated to the $125,000 Toronto Cup, an open race for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on grass here July 27.

Niigon’s Glory, coming off three consecutive second-place finishes in 1 1/16-mile Ontario-sired allowance races for nonwinners of two, was the fastest of six workers at the distance Thursday, going in 47.20 and galloping out five furlongs in 1:00.60 under regular rider Steven Bahen.

“We’re very happy with how he worked,” trainer Rachel Halden said. “We’ll take [the Prince of Wales] into serious consideration.”