LAUREL, MD – Curragh Stables’ Killybegs Captain broke through at the top of the stretch for his first graded score in Saturday’s $250,000 Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash Stakes (G3) at Laurel Park.
Breaking well from post 2 under Eric Cancel as the 5/2 second choice on the tote, Killybegs Captain settled into midpack along the rail while Old Time Revival set fast opening fractions of :21.74 and :
Still cruising as he rolled through the far turn, Killybegs Captain hit the top of the stretch ready to move. Old Time Revival drifted out while growing leg-weary, opening the door for Killybegs Captain to slide past to the front.
Digging in to prevent Altissimo from gaining ground along his outside, the John Terranova II-trained Killybegs Captain crossed a length clear in a final time of 1:08.10 for the 6-furlong sprint over the fast main track.
“John didn’t tell me really any instructions because I’ve ridden the horse a few times already,” Cancel said. “I’ve gotten to know him pretty well. He just told me to ride him with a lot of confidence and to bring home the winner.
Altissimo was several lengths clear of the 6/5 favorite He Hate Me, who never seemed to find his best footing before outkicking New York Central for third. Bon Raison and an empty Old Time Revival completed the order of finish. Wonderful Light and Sparticle were scratched.
Killybegs Captain’s win was his second against stakes foes, having won the Pelican Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs in February. The 5-year-old son of Mizzen Mast improved his career record to 24-6-5-3 with $521,453 earned.
“The horse, sometimes he has his good breaks and sometimes he has his bad,” Cancel said. “Today, he broke pretty decent. I put him in the spot that I really wanted to be, laying close third or fourth, and once I asked him to run, he just started going and never hesitated. I took advantage and it worked out very well.”
Killybegs Captain returned $7.80 to win, $4.20 to place, and $2.60 to show. Altissimo brought back $4.80 to place and $2.80 to show, while He Hate Me paid $2.40 to show.