3-for-3 Carribean Caper could run back in Audubon Oaks

Ellis Park press release (Coady Photography photos)

Columbine Stable’s Carribean Caper remained unbeaten in three starts, beating older fillies and mares to take Saturday’s second race, a second-level allowance race. Bet down to 1-5 odds in the field of five, Carribean Caper drew off in the stretch for a 4 1/2-length victory over Queen Bridget, covering 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.18.

Trainer Al Stall said the Aug. 15 Audubon Oaks at seven furlongs will be “strongly considered.”

“That’s not 100 percent,” Stall said by phone. “But if she could be a stakes-winner or stakes-placed horse, she’s got a wonderful pedigree and she’s pretty. It’s definitely under consideration. She’ll come out of the gate better. She got pinched today. I’m not sure if the other jockeys were riding the 1-to-5 shot or whatever leaving there. But she showed a good little versatility, and, boy, she sure closed the gap on them quickly. I liked that, too.”

Colby Hernandez guided Carribean Caper to a 4 1/2-length victory in a second-level allowance race at Ellis Park. Coady Photography

Colby Hernandez has been aboard for all three starts.

“She’s an amazing filly,” Hernandez said. “She does everything the correct way. She’s very kind. She just waits on your call. Head of the stretch, I just moved my hands and she went on. I think she’s a really nice filly, and I hope we do great things.”

A daughter of the fashionable stallion Speightstown, Carribean Caper’s racing career was delayed by an uncommon but pesky throat inflammation that pushed the epiglottis into her airway, Stall said. She won a six-furlong maiden race by eighth lengths in New Orleans on Feb. 13, then taking an April 2 entry-level Keeneland allowance by 4 1 1/2.

“I gave her a freshening after Keeneland,” Stall said. “She was doing fine, and I just didn’t like the way she looked. But I didn’t want to turn her out. So I gave her a barn freshening, and she really responded to it. She got weight, color, all that good stuff. We got her back looking like we wanted her. That’s why she had that little gap after Keeneland.”

Of taking the conservative route with Carribean Caper, the trainer said of Churchill Downs’ Grade 2 stakes Derby Week: “The Eight Belles was never under consideration. I didn’t even nominate. We know she’s got some brilliance to her. You just want to make sure you get it out of them. That’s all about timing.”

Stall noted the $100,000 Audubon Oaks would be a good launching pad to Keeneland’s Grade 2 Raven Run Stakes.

Last year’s Audubon Oaks produced Sconsin, who finished third that day but went on to win the COVID-delayed Eight Belles and finished fourth in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Keeneland. Sconsin this year has stamped herself among the best in the female sprint division, including winning Churchill Downs’ Grade 3 Winning Colors and finishing second in Churchill Downs’ Grade 1 Derby City Distaff won by 2020 Breeders’ Cup winner Gamine.

Sconsin is training at Ellis Park with Greg Foley’s stable, preparing for an anticipated run in Saratoga’s Grade 1 Ballerina Stakes.

“That race doesn’t run until late August,” Foley said. “I’m just kind of playing with her now, getting her ready for that race.”


Spycraft sets track record (5 1/2 furlongs in 1:02.31)

Galloping out: Early morning storms wreaked havoc on the card, forcing four races off the turf. But the main track — which has received rave reviews from horsemen, including for its improved drainage — started off as “good” for the first race and then was upgraded to “fast” in the official Equibase charts.

With Mitchell Murrill aboard, Running the Dream Stables’ 4-year-old gelding Spycraft set the track record for 5 1/2 furlongs on dirt in winning the third race that came off the turf with a time of 1:02.31. The old record was 1:02.73, set by Royal Saint in 2014.

Spycraft was claimed by trainer Chris Hartman for $30,000 on Feb. 21 at the Fair Grounds. It was his third win in five starts for his new connections. The third race was a second-level allowance race with an optional $40,000 claiming price. Spycraft was in for the $40,000 – and was claimed by trainer Eddie Kenneally for owner Brian Dugan. Kenneally definitely had the mojo Saturday, winning a three-way “shake” for Spycraft before earning his 1,000th career victory in the fifth race with He’s Pretty Lucky.


 July 25 College Day adds $1K scholarships to iPad Mini giveaways

The Kentucky HBPA and Ellis Park are teaming to sponsor a $1,000 scholarship to be given out via drawing after each of nine races to a full-time college student (including incoming freshmen) on Sunday July 25. The Kentucky HBPA also will be giving away an iPad mini to a separate student after each race. The last-race drawing is limited to students working in horse-racing industry or whose parents work in industry, including at Ellis Park or on the backstretch.

Who’s eligible: Full-time students registered at any accredited 2- or 4-year college/university (including online); grad and professional schools; technical, vocational, barber programs etc. Incoming freshmen eligible. Must show valid college I.D., acceptance letter or verifiable course schedule, along with photo I.D.

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Jennie Rees