by Karen M. Johnson
Grand Minstrel turned in a powerful performance to win the $76,750 Capote Stakes for 2-year-olds by five lengths at Aqueduct Dec. 12.
Ridden by Eibar Coa, Grand Minstrel quickly gave chase to Possetothemax, who secured an early lead in the six-furlong inner-track race. Grand Minstrel found a slim opening on the rail and battled with Possetothemax until getting the lead before the first quarter-mile was run in :22.74. Go Go Shoot, racing on the outside of Possetothemax, was part of the trio of horses forcing the pace.
As the field turned for home, Grand Minstrel held the lead, and continued to dominate through the stretch under brisk urging from Coa. Following fractions of :45.88 and :57.92, Grand Minstrel stopped the clock in 1:10.66 on a fast track.
Grand Minstrel, a sturdy-looking son of Grand Slamout of the Pleasant Colony mare Colonial Minstrel, a multiple graded-stakes winner, is owned by his breeder, Edward P. Evans.
Jimmy Jerkens trains Grand Minstrel, who returned $6.60 to win as the favorite in the seven-horse field. All Expenses Paid finished second and completed the $23.80 exacta. Red Reef was third, one length behind All Expenses Paid.
The win was Grand Minstrel’s second; the gray colt won a maiden race by two lengths at Belmont Park Oct. 6. He now has two career wins from five starts.
The good-looking victory by Grand Minstrel should likely land him in a stakes for his next start. The first 3-year-old stakes in 2008 at Aqueduct is the $75,000 Count Fleet Jan. 5.