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Dads Caps Targets MD Sprint 'Cap

Dads Caps wins 2014 Carter.
Photo: Chelsea Durand, NYRA
Trainer Rudy Rodriguez said his Dads Caps, 10-1 upset winner of the Grade 1, $500,000 Carter Handicap, likely would be pointed toward the Grade 3, $150,000 Maryland Sprint Handicap on May 17 on the Preakness Stakes undercard at Pimlico.


Dads Caps won the seven-furlong Carter in a time of 1:22.02, turning back rival Strapping Groom on the far turn and opening up by 3 ½ lengths in the lane, more than enough to hold off the late charge of Sahara Sky.


"It's three-quarters [of a mile], and I won it last year with Sage Valley, so that was my plan," Rodriguez said of the Maryland Sprint.


Dads Caps entered the Carter off second-place finishes in the Grade 3 Tobaggan Stakes and Tom Fool Handicap, losing the lead late in both races. This time, however, he carried his speed.


"We took a chance and it worked out pretty good; the owner really wanted to run the horse," Rodriguez said, referring to Vincent Scuderi. "I think the jockey [Luis Contreras] did an excellent job because he rated the horse very, very good. When he went in 23 [seconds for the first quarter-mile], I thought we had a very good shot to win. Every time he runs, he goes 21, 22. I told the jockey, 'If you go 23, I think they're going to have a hard time,' and he went 23 and change. He never punished him. He just kept the horse together."


Rodriguez said he planned to give Dads Caps plenty of time between races and not tackle the best of the best every time out.


"That's why I don't want to run him in these races," he said, referring to races like the Carter. "I don't have that many good horses in the barn. If I get one, I try to keep him sound for as long as I can because they are very, very hard to come around."




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