Capuano's Ribbon Cane triumphs at Timonium

Filly wins her fifth stakes, leading every step of way

Horse Racing

September 05, 2004|By Tom Keyser | Tom Keyser,SUN STAFF

Tori Capuano rode in a stroller into the winner's circle when Captain Bodgit, trained by her father, Gary Capuano, captured the Florida Derby and Wood Memorial Stakes in 1997. Now, Tori, 8, stands tall and smiles for the photographer when Dad saddles a winner, as he did yesterday at Timonium.

The Capuano-trained Ribbon Cane blitzed to a seven-length victory in the $50,000 Alma North Stakes, the first of two stakes at the eight-day Timonium fair meet. The second stakes, the $50,000 Taking Risks tomorrow on Timonium's closing day, might also belong to Capuano. He trains Cherokee's Boy, one of the favorites.

Tori, a bright-faced girl with a braided ponytail, represents the next generation of Capuano horsemen - Gary, his brother Dale and their father, Phil, train horses - as well as the future of Maryland racing. She has two horses of her own, and she jumps and shows them. She usually wins.

She represents the ongoing rhythm of racing - as does Ribbon Cane, the race winner. She's a Maryland-bred daughter of Angelina County, a top-producing broodmare who died four years ago. Her owner, Carey K. Miller, who owns a farm in Boyds in Montgomery County, will eventually retire Ribbon Cane, 5, and bring her home to produce babies of her own.

Sired by the late Allen's Prospect, Ribbon Cane has quietly compiled an exemplary record racing in the Mid-Atlantic. She's won 11 of 14, including five stakes.

"She's just an excellent filly," said Gary Capuano, who's trained her throughout her career. "She's got a big heart on the front end."

Jockey Travis Dunkelberger gunned her into the lead of the Alma North, and she led every step. Her time for the "about 6 1/2 furlongs" - the race's official distance - was 1 minute, 16.41 seconds. She paid $4.40 to win.

"Gary told me to hold on, and he'd see me in the winner's circle," Dunkelberger said. "Anybody could have won on her today."

He laughed, and Capuano said, "I wish it was that easy."

Yesterday, it was.

NOTES: Zippy Chippy, a 13-year-old maiden, lost for the 99th time yesterday at the Northampton fair meet in Massachusetts. He finished seventh. ... Tapit, trained by Michael Dickinson at Tapeta Farm in Cecil County, competes tomorrow in the Pennsylvania Derby for the first time since finishing ninth in the Kentucky Derby. Dickinson-trained A Huevo finished seventh yesterday in the Forego Handicap at Saratoga in his first race since winning the De Francis Dash last November at Laurel Park. ...

Jockey Christian Olmo, injured in a spill Friday at Timonium, remained in fair condition last night at the Maryland Shock Trauma Center. Frank Douglas, his agent, said Olmo suffered no broken bones and was walking and talking. ... Maryland-bred Perfect Moon won for the first time in more than a year when he captured the El Cajon Stakes Friday at Del Mar. ... Maryland-bred Our New Recruit races tomorrow in the Pirate's Bounty Handicap at Del Mar in his first start since winning the $2 million Golden Shaheen in Dubai in March. His goal is the Breeders' Cup Sprint at Lone Star Park. ...

Rick Wilson, the veteran jockey severely injured when his horse stumbled last spring at Pimlico, spent yesterday afternoon at Timonium. Shaking hands and greeting well-wishers, he said of his track visit: "I miss it so damn much."

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