Essence Hit Man had to survive a claim of foul after holding off 28-1 shot Dimension in deep stretch by a neck to score a repeat victory in the $162,002 Bold Venture Stakes (Can-III) July 17 at Woodbine (VIDEO).
Two-time Canadian sprint champ Essence Hit Man, the 4-5 choice in the field of six, popped the gate and never looked back in the 6 1/2-furlong event, but was weakening in the late going under right-handed urging from jockey Jesse Campbell as Dimension closed in. Stewards reviewed the stretch run after the objection from David Moran, rider of the British-bred Dimension, before making the result official.
Teamed with his regular rider, Essence Hit Man carried top weight of 124 pound and was timed in 1:15.46 over the Polytrack. Dimension, shouldering 117, was a clear second by 4 1/4 lengths over Paso Doble in the field of six.
Essence Hit Man, a 6-year-old son of Speightstown out of the El Prado mare El Prado Essence, was saddled for the first time by Larry Cappuccitti for owner/breeder A & G Racing. He won last year's Bold Venture in similar front-running fashion, denying a challenge from Eternal Rule by a head. The latest victory was the chestnut gelding's 12th in 27 lifetime starts and boosted his earnings to $1,354,331.
The quarter mile fractions were :22.21 and :44.01 as Essence Hit Man showed the way by one to two lengths over the stalkers Bear Tough Tiger, with Dimension at the rail, and Paso Doble on the outside. After Bear Tough Tiger gave way, Dimension angled out slightly to make his bid in the stretch and nearly caught Essence Hit Man, who was two lengths clear at the eighth pole before drifting out. Paso Doble, ridden by by Eurico Rosa Da Silva, was followed home by Consolidator Joe, Bear Tough Tiger, and Court of the Realm.
The quick middle fraction set by Essence Hit Man was all part of the master plan set by Campbell and Cappuccitti.
"Larry said if I could give him his head a little bit today, not slow him down as much as I have been and it worked out," said Campbell. "He was in his rhythm, so I just let him be."
Campbell believes the 6 1/2-furlong distance of the Bold Venture suits his horse perfectly.
"It's the perfect in-between distance for him. He can use his speed, make them work to chase him, and he's got enough to hold them off. He's just a good racehorse," he said.
Essence Hit Man paid $3.90, $2.60, $2.30. Dimension returned $16.90 and $6.20 while completing a $67.50 exacta. Paso Doble paid $3.60 to show.