Photo: Eclipse Sportswire
Hot Heir Skier will headline an evenly matched field of 3-year-old sprinters on Saturday at Aqueduct Racetrack in the $100,000 Fred "Cappy" Capossela run at six furlongs.
Trained by Ben Perkins, Jr. and owned by New Farm, the chestnut son of Wildcat Heir is coming off back-to-back victories, including a half-length score in the Jimmy Winkfield on January 21 at the Big A, though his margin of victory may be somewhat misleading.
After tracking the early pace in second that day, the speedy colt spurted away from the field to open up a two-length lead in midstretch and seemed destined to win by more until he began running greenly in the final eighth of a mile. In an instant, visions of a facile victory were supplanted by a scramble to the wire.
"He got a little erratic in the lane, which cost him," said Perkins, "but he was able to hang on. He was lightly raced."
Coming out of that race, Perkins has placed an added emphasis on keeping his talented colt focused.
"We've trained him in company a lot and schooled him behind some horses, and we're also going to have him equipped with blinkers," he said. "He's breezed well [with blinkers], but he's breezed well without them, too."
Hot Heir Skier, the 3-1 second choice on the morning line, will be ridden by Jose Ortiz and drew post position 6.
The New York-bred Loki's Vengeance will take on open company for the first time on Saturday following two convincing victories over state-bred foes at Aqueduct. The son of Frost Giant - trained by Mike Hushion for Blue Bison Stable - won those races by a combined 10 ¾ lengths, his first two starts since entering Hushion's barn late last fall.
"I certainly think he fits [with open company]," said the trainer. "He's sharp; he's good. I don't see any reason why he can't run his race."
Manny Franco will again have the mount on Loki's Vengeance, 4-1 on the morning line, and the pair will break from post position 7.
Oliver Zip will be back on short rest in the Capossela, just two weeks removed from a victory in a starter allowance race at the Big A. In his two starts prior, the son of City Zip finished second to Hot Heir Skier in the Jimmy Winkfield and second to Extrasexyhippzster in the Don Rickles, both over Aqueduct's inner track.
Owned by George and Lori Hall and trained by Kelly Breen, Oliver Zip drew post position 4 and will be ridden by Rajiv Maragh. He sits at 7-2 on the morning line.
Rounding out the field are Germaniac, winner of the Frank Whitely, Jr. two starts back at Laurel Park; Geaux Mets, third-place finisher of the Christopher Elser Memorial at Parx Racing last out; Long On Value, most recently fourth in the Hutcheson at Gulfstream Park; and Good Time Henny, who is undefeated through two starts for trainer Timothy Keefe.
T J. Tullock, Jr.
Geaux Mets (NY)
C P. DeCarlo
Long On Value (VA)
J R. Velazquez
W I. Mott
Oliver Zip (KY)
K J. Breen
Good Time Henny (KY)
C H. Velasquez
T L. Keefe
Hot Heir Skier (FL)
J L. Ortiz
B W. Perkins, Jr.
Loki's Vengeance (NY)
M E. Hushion