10/15/2004 11:00PM

A to the Z wins California Cup Mile


ARCADIA, Calif. - The two-month plan to have A to the Z ready for Saturday's $175,000 worked to perfection for owner-trainer Paula Capestro.

With a quick burst of speed on the final turn, A to the Z ($7.60) took command of the Mile in early stretch and pulled clear to win by 2 1-4 lengths. Ridden by Victor Espinoza, A to the Z finished a mile on turf in 1:33.44.

"We had everything go our way," Capestro said. "But I learned something about the horse: When he gets the lead, he starts looking around."

Hemet Thought closed from fifth to finish second, two lengths clear of even-money favorite Stage Player in the field of seven.

A to the Z scored his first stakes win since the Sunland Park Handicap in New Mexico in April. The win marked his first victory since he joined Capestro's stable at San Luis Rey Downs in the summer.

"I was pretty impressed," Capestro said. "I knew the horse would improve."

A to the Z has won 4 of 18 starts and $249,283. A 4-year-old gelding, he was purchased privately by Capestro and her husband, Andy, in late summer.