Capo Kane Rolls in Jerome, Joins Kentucky Derby Trail

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Capo Kane, with Dylan Davis riding, won the Jan. 1 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct by 6 ¼ lengths. (Joe Labozzetta/NYRA Photo)

New York has its own road to the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve, but it seems to be running through Bensalem, Pa.

A second straight Kentucky Derby qualifying points race in New York went to a Parx Racing-based runner Jan. 1 as Bing Cherry Racing and Leonard Liberto's Capo Kane cruised on the front end to a decisive 6 ¼-length victory in the 151st edition of the $150,000 Jerome Stakes for newly turned 3-year-olds at Aqueduct.

"It's a very good track to train on," winning trainer Harold Wyner said about Parx, where Aqueduct's Remsen Stakes winner Brooklyn Strong is also stabled. "It's deep, and it gets a horse good and fit, and then when they come to a little harder track they do great. They just skip over the track."

Capo Kane, a California-bred son of Street Sense coming off a maiden win at Parx, surely had no trouble handling the Aqueduct surface and the one-turn mile as he revived Triple Crown hopes for Wyner, who missed out on his first run for the roses starter last year.

Back in 2019, Wyner advised John Fanelli and Leonard Liberto to purchase the New York-bred Ny Traffic. The son of Cross Traffic logged his first four races with Wyner, winning one of them, before he was sent to Florida and the barn of trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. With Joseph, Ny Traffic was unplaced in the 2020 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes but was second by a nose to Kentucky Derby winner Authentic in the TVG.com Haskell Stakes.

Thank God we sent Ny Traffic to Florida because right after that COVID hit," Wyner said. "I told Mr. Fanelli he was a Kentucky Derby horse."

After the Jerome, Wyner now has a colt with 10 Kentucky Derby points and a pedigree to thrive around two turns who figures to stay in his barn.

"I'm keeping this one," said Wyner, who has about 24 horses based at Parx. "I want to say thank you to the owners, Mr. Liberto and Mr. Como (Tony Como of Bing Cherry Racing) for giving me the opportunity and buying this horse for me and having faith in me."

Out of the Hard Spun mare Twirl Me, Capo Kane was bred by Rising Star Farm and was bought by Liberto for $26,000 at the 2020 Fasig-Tipton Midlantic 2-Year-Olds in Training Sale.

The Jerome was first New York Racing Association stakes to be contested under its ban on race-day Lasix in all stakes races, and Capo Kane was the only one of the five starters who had raced on the medication at 2. He didn't seem to miss it Friday in his third career start.

"I usually put Lasix in my 2-year-olds just in case," said Wyner, who has 211 career wins since 2004 but captured his first stakes win Friday after 30 losses. "I worked him with Lasix and he never bled, so I knew he'd be okay."

Jockey Dylan Davis celebrates. (Janet Garaguso/NYRA Photo)

Capo Kane was more than okay as he led through a half-mile in :47.83 over 7-5 favorite Swill while under a snug hold by jockey Dylan Davis.

When Swill began to retreat leaving the quarter pole, a pair of New York statebreds, Eagle Orb and Hold the Salsa, took up the chase but they were no match for the Cal-bred in the stretch. Though Capo Kane drifted a bit in the stretch, he widened his lead at the eighth pole in a manner that bodes well for his handling two turns in stakes company.

"In the morning, the farther he gallops, the stronger he gets," Wyner said. "He loves to run. He's a racehorse."

Sent off at 6.90-1 odds, Capo Kane was timed in 1:38.02.

"He broke sharp for me, and I was able to take the lead very comfortably. 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," Davis said.

"He broke sharp for me, and I was able to take the lead very comfortably. 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," Davis said.

E.V. Racing Stable's Eagle Orb, a son of Orb trained by Rudy Rodriguez, was second by 2 ¾ lengths over Hold the Salsa, a Hold Me Back colt owned, trained, and bred by Richard Lugovich who nosed out Swill for third.

The second through fourth finishers received Kentucky Derby qualifying points on a 4-2-1 distribution.

Wyner said he'll decide between the Feb. 6 Withers Stakes at Aqueduct or the Feb. 13 Risen Star Stakes Presented by Lamarque Ford at Fair Grounds for Capo Kane's next start.

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