A pair of stakes winners returning from layoffs--and a recent sharp allowance winner--are among a short field of five entered in Saturday’s Fred “Cappy” Capossela at Aqueduct.
Vengeful Wildcat, winner of the Tyro Stakes at Monmouth Park in July, went to the sidelines after finishing a close second in the Grade III Sapling in September. Vengeful Wildcat was being pointed to the Jan. 8 Spectacular Bid at Gulfstream Park, but trainer Ben Perkins, Jr. changed course after the colt missed training time.
“He lost a shoe in the Sapling, which might have compromised him,” said Perkins. “We decided to give him a break and take him to Florida, but he got behind in his training and we ended up missing the Spectacular Bid. We didn’t want to bring him back at seven furlongs, but this race is six, so here we are.”
Vengeful Wildcat, who turned in nine workouts at Gulfstream from Dec. 24 to Feb. 19, completed his preparations for the Capossela with a :36.00 breeze over the Belmont training track yesterday, a workout Perkins described as a “nice blowout.”
Carlos Marquez will come to Aqueduct to ride Venegeful Wildcat from post position 5.
The Capossela will be the first start on conventional dirt for Bobby Flay’s Sensational Slam, who is unraced since finishing ninth in the Grade III With Anticipation on turf at Saratoga in September. Previously, the son of Grand Slam posted narrow victories over Ontario-breds in the Clarendon and Vandal on Polytrack at Woodbine in July.
“We wanted to take advantage of Sensational Slam’s status as a Canadian-bred,” said trainer Todd Pletcher, who will also send out Another Silver Oak in the Capossela. “Starting him up there was easier than a maiden special at Saratoga. We were kind of looking for the right spot for him after those two, and tried the turf, but that didn’t work out. He had a hind ankle injury after that, but he’s been training well for this. I am not sure six furlongs on the dirt is his forte, but it’s a starting place.”
Ramon Dominguez has the call aboard Sensational Slam, who drew post position 4.
Among those taking on the comebackers is Rift, a 2 3/4-length winner of an Aqueduct allowance on Feb. 16. Previously, the Jay Em Ess Stable representative was third behind Fort Hughes and Royal Currier in the Jimmy Winkfield at the Big A a month earlier.
“Fort Hughes was very impressive, and the speed wasn’t coming back that day,” said Samantha Siegel, managing partner of Jay Em Ess Stable. “In the allowance race, it looked like he was going to finish third at one point before he kicked on to win. The Capossela is a little quick back, but he came out of the race in good shape and is doing well.”
Rift will leave from post 3 under Jose Valdivia, Jr.
The Capossela field also includes Diski Dance, second in the Dancing Count at Laurel on Jan. 29.
--Edited from NYRA release