Capo Kane wandered his way from the rail to the middle of the track, while also wandering his way onto the Road to the 2021 Kentucky Derby leaderboard.
The 3-year-old Street Sense colt went gate-to-wire Friday to win the $150,000 Jerome Stakes against four rivals at Aqueduct. The California-bred scored by 6 1/4 lengths, covered a mile in 1:38.02 and returned $15.80 at 7-1 odds.
Capo Kane earned 10 points toward the Kentucky Derby starting gates with the Jerome victory, and now ranks eighth in the Derby standings. Also earning points Friday were second-through-fourth finishers Eagle Orb (four), Hold the Salsa (two) and Swill (one).
Under jockey Dylan Davis, Capo Kane broke well from the No. 1 post and kept a nose in front of 7-5 favorite Swill, also seeking the lead from post No. 2. Capo Kane set fractions of 23.53 and 47.83 along the rail while chased by Swill.
Coming through the turn, Eagle Orb moved forward from the outside to pressure the top two. Capo Kane stayed in the lead turning for home, drifting up the track but clear of both Swill and Eagle Orb.
While Capo Kane wandered into the five-path, he stayed well in front under right- and left-handed crops from Davis. He drove on to an authoritative win in his stakes debut.
“He broke sharp for me and I was able to take the lead very comfortably," Davis said. "He responded great all the way to the wire and I was very happy with the way he did it. He galloped out well. It was a very comfortable win and he handled the track real well.”
Harold Wyner trains Capo Kane, who improved to 2-for-3 lifetime. He finished second in his first start in October at Parx Racing, then broke his maiden a month later over the same Bensalem, Pa., oval.
Wyner noted that Capo Kane drifted out some at the head of the lane during his last race at Parx, just as he did in the Jerome.
"He’s still a little green," Wyner said.
Bing Cherry Racing and Leonard Liberto campaign Capo Kane. Liberto paid $26,000 for the 2021 Jerome Stakes winner last May at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-year-olds in Training Sale.
In 2019, Wyner saddled Ny Traffic for the first four starts of his career, including in a 2-year-old stakes at Aqueduct. That colt moved into the barn last year of trainer Saffie Joseph Jr., for whom he started in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes.
Wyner compared Capo Kane to Ny Traffic after the former's victory Friday.
"I think this is a Derby horse, too," Wyner said.
Wyner said Capo Kane could continue along the Kentucky Derby trail either in Aqueduct's $250,000 Withers Stakes (G3) on Feb. 6 or at Fair Grounds on Feb. 13 in the $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (G2).
Runner-up Eagle Orb entered off a November victory at Aqueduct in the Notebook Stakes. Rudy Rodriguez trains the New York-bred son of 2013 Kentucky Derby victor Orb.
“I had a good trip," Eagle Orb jockey Manny Franco said. "I was right there, but I have to give credit to the winner. He’s a nice horse.”