Deftly ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr., Capo Bastone came from off the pace to reel in Mentor Cane in the stretch and register a 28-1 upset in the 29th running of Saratoga Race Course's Grade 1, $500,000 Foxwoods King's Bishop for 3-year-olds on Saturday.
Capo Bastone left from post position 2 and lagged in 11th in the field of 14 sprinters through an opening quarter-mile in 22.34 seconds and was in 10th following a half in 44.60. Ortiz kept Capo Bastone inside on the turn before angling the long shot off the rail at the top of the stretch.
Once put to a drive, Capo Bastone split horses at the three-sixteenths pole with his sights set on Mentor Cane, who had dueled for the early lead before taking control on the turn. Mentor Cane retained a four-length lead at the furlong marker, but Capo Bastone drew closer with every stride and shot to the front 40 yards from the wire, going on to win by two lengths.
It was an additional 3 ¼ lengths back to third-place finisher Central Banker, who edged Capo Bastone's stablemate and 5-2 favorite Forty Tales, who was seeking his third straight graded stakes triumph, by a neck.
Capo Bastone returned $58.50 for a $2 win wager and completed seven furlongs in 1:22.22.
“When I asked him, he picked it up, and he did the job,” said Ortiz. “He was ready today. [Trainer Todd Pletcher] put me on the right horse. The horse was great, that's all I can say. I just waited to the three-eighths pole like the trainer told me. I just followed the instructions.”
The Foxwoods King's Bishop was the fourth career Grade 1 victory at Saratoga for 21-year-old Ortiz, who in 2012 won the TVG Coaching Club American Oaks and Alabama with Questing and Forego with Emcee.
Capo Bastone was transferred to Pletcher following a 2-year-old campaign that included a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile for trainer John Sadler. In his debut for Pletcher, Capo Bastone won an entry-level optional claimer in February at Gulfstream Park, and then was ninth in the Grade 3 Spiral in March at Turfway Park.
Cut back to a one-turn mile for the Grade 3 Derby Trial in April at Churchill Downs, he finished second to Forty Tales by a neck. He entered the Foxwoods King's Bishop off a seventh in Belmont Park's Grade 2 Woody Stephens presented by NYRA Rewards on June 8, also won by Forty Tales.
“He's shown, on his good days, that he's good enough to compete in a race like this,” said Pletcher, who trains Capo Bastone for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners. “He was pretty close to Forty Tales in the Derby Trial, and it seemed like he was training better than ever. Based off his breeze with [beaten Travers favorite] Verrazano [on Sunday], we felt like it was time to take a shot. It seemed like everything was gelling at the right time, and he was sitting on a good one, so we felt like, ‘Let's try a big one.' It seems like he has found his niche. I think he gets a mile, no problem, but this was a good set-up for him today.”
With his Foxwoods King's Bishop victory, Capo Bastone improved his record to 3-1-2 in nine starts and earned $300,000. His lifetime earnings now stand at $659,608.
Overanalyze, also trained by Pletcher, finished fifth and was followed home by Slan Abhaile, Salutos Amigos, Miraculousmo, Majestic Hussar, No Distinction, Bad Hombre, Integrity, early pacesetter Let Em Shine, and Declan's Warrior.
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Foxwoods King's Bishop (G1) Quotes
Todd Pletcher, trainer of winner Capo Bastone (No. 3): “He's shown, on his good days, that he's good enough to compete in a race like this. He was pretty close to Forty Tales in the Derby Trial, and it seemed like he was training better than ever. Based off his breeze with Verrazano [on Sunday], we felt like it was time to take a shot. It seemed like everything was gelling at the right time, and he was sitting on a good one, so we felt like, ‘Let's try a big one.' It seems like he has found his niche. I think he gets a mile, no problem, but this was a good set-up for him today.”
Irad Ortiz, Jr., winning jockey aboard Capo Bastone (No. 3): “I had a good trip on the outside all the way. When I asked him, he picked it up, and he did the job. He was ready today. The trainer put me on the right horse. The horse was great, that's all I can say. I just waited to the three-eighths pole like the trainer told me. I just followed the instructions.”
John Shirreffs, trainer of runner-up Mentor Cane (No. 7): “I thought he ran great. I am very happy with the race. He made the turn. You never know until the wire; someone is always closing.”
Edgar Prado, jockey aboard runner-up Mentor Cane (No. 7): “He came out of there running. There were horses outside of me, and I thought I was going to sit right off of it. I think I was in a pretty good spot all the way. He took command around the turn very easily. He fought hard, but the other horse came from the outside. I thought the last eighth of a mile that I won the race.”
Al Stall, trainer of third-place finisher Central Banker (No. 12): “This was a really good race for him, especially since this was the second race off a really long layoff. I thought he really ran well under these conditions. It has been a speed-biased track all day long. Sometimes when that happens, the jocks go out there in :44 and change. We thought there would be a good chance that the speed would come back, and it did a little bit.”
Julien Leparoux, jockey aboard beaten favorite and fourth-place finisher Forty Tales (No. 2): “He got in a little traffic, but when he got in the clear, he really came running. No more dirt in his face. Around the turn, I asked him to run; he took a little time to get going, but he ran big.”
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