Cappuchino, with Jon Court in the irons, overtook Pass Rush at the quarter pole and went on to post a two-length triumph in Sunday's $165,450 Ack Ack Handicap (gr. III) over a sloppy track on opening day of the fall meet at Churchill Downs.
The 4-year-old son of Capote, a classic hopeful in California in 2002, collected his first graded stakes win while dismissed at odds of 8-1. He completed the 7 1/2-furlong test in 1:31 3/5 on sloppy going. Twilight Road was third, one length behind Pass Rush.
Apt to Be, the slight favorite over Pass Rush, both at 2-1, was last in the field of seven, beaten by 33 3/4 lengths while fading after the first half mile.
Owned by Howard Litt, George Todaro and Jerry Hollendorfer, who trains him, Cappuchino broke alongside Pass Rush on his inside while four wide, and the two were within a head of one another after an opening quarter mile of :22 4/5 and a half in :45 2/5. Cappuchino edged a head in front of Pass Rush, ridden by Pat Day, with two furlongs to go and opened up by more than a length when roused by Court with a left-handed whip. Court switched to his right hand in deep stretch as Cappuchino continued to the wire under pressure.
Hollendorfer teamed with Court for two victories on the first day's card. Court had three wins.
Twilight Road, who was in easy striking distance while racing toward the rail into the stretch for Robby Albarado, was sent wide on the turn and made up a little ground in the stretch while finishing two lengths clear of Woodmon.
Cappuchino earned $102,579 for the victory, his seventh in 23 career starts. His only other win in eight starts this year came in the J.T. Grace Handicap at the Santa Rosa fairgrounds on Aug. 2. In his most recent start, he was third to Crafty Shaw in the Turfway Park Fall Championship (gr. III) at a mile on Sept. 27.
A $130,000 Keeneland September yearling purchase in 2000, Cappuchino has amassed career earnings of $437,760.
Emory A. Hamilton bred Cappuchino, who is out of the Lyphard mare Tara Roma, in Kentucky.
Cappuchino paid $18, $6.60 and $4.40. Pass Rush returned $4 and $3. Twilight Road's show was $4.40. The $2 exacta was worth $68.80.