Brush Over claims Conniver by a neck Capuano's prize claimer rallies past tough field

March 02, 1998|By Pete Bielski | Pete Bielski,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Moments after winning the $60,000 Conniver Stakes with recent acquisition Brush Over, trainer Dale Capuano rushed from the winner's circle to the paddock.

Capuano's haste wasn't because he had a horse entered in Laurel Park's final race; it was because he wanted to look at the nine readying for the finale.

"On to the next one," said Capuano. "It's what I do."

Similar attention in the paddock prompted him to claim Brush Over about four months ago for $25,000. Since entering Capuano's barn for owner Donald H. Mensh, Brush Over has won five of six races. Yesterday's winner's share of $36,000 put Brush Over's earnings at $111,800 since Capuano took over.

The 4-year-old daughter of Broad Brush debuted in the summer of 1996 for trainer Dick Small and ran fifth at Pimlico. Then she disappeared for 16 months, generally not a good sign.

But Capuano liked her looks and plopped down Mensh's money on her return to the races Nov. 6. The rest has been a party.

"If you claim enough horses, you'll come up with some good ones now and then," Capuano said. "I originally claimed this filly because the owner thought she had a good pedigree and she would be useful for breeding regardless. She's a very easy filly to train. I just enter her, and she takes care of business."

The Conniver was Brush Over's second stakes try, and she was facing a tough field. Weather Vane, a 4-year-old with 12 career victories and almost $450,000 in earnings, was the choice. She appeared in prime position to notch another win when she collared front-running Darlene's Friend at the top of the stretch.

But Weather Vane, with Mario Pino aboard, couldn't hold off Brush Over, who carried jockey Edgar Prado to victory by a neck. They covered the seven furlongs in 1 minute, 23 2/5 seconds. Long shot Truth and Nobility was third, a length behind the winner.

Brush Over, the second choice in the Conniver field of 10, paid $7.20, $2.80 and $2.60. It was Brush Over's first sprint since November, but Capuano and Prado were confident the filly could keep pace early. She broke fourth and tracked the leaders perfectly.

"She showed more speed than normal," said Prado. "I let her relax and rate down the backside, waiting for the top of the stretch. I asked her to run and she responded. Weather Vane was two lengths ahead, and I really didn't think I could beat her."

Also taking the claiming route to success of late has been trainer Ben Feliciano Jr. He continued a hot streak by winning the seventh race with $11,500 claimer C.F. Bagley. Feliciano, 33 and the son of former rider Ben Feliciano, has won nine of 19 starts this year. He claimed C.F. Bagley Jan. 23 for $11,500 and won with both starts.

C.F. Bagley was claimed from Feliciano yesterday by trainer Scott Posey.

Pub Date: 3/02/98

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