It was the first graded stakes victory for the son of Speightstown . The chestnut gelding covered six furlongs on Polytrack in 1:08.75 under Jesse Campbell.
Essence Hit Man is an Ontario homebred of Audre and Gordon Cappuccitti. Audre Cappuccitti trains him.
Breaking from post 5, Essence Hit Man was sent right to the front and opened up a one-length lead through an opening quarter-mile of :22.50. He increased his lead to two lengths after an aggressive half-mile in :44.27, with Hollywood Hit and Gypsy Ring his closest pursuers.
Essence Hit Man carried a 2 1/2--length advantage into the stretch, with Gypsy Ring and Justin Stein his main threat. Gypsy Ring inched closer approaching the sixteenth-pole but Essence Hit Man had enough left to pull off the 7-1 upset.
The final margin of victory was 1 1/4 lengths. Gypsy Ring settled for second, three lengths in front of Signature Red.
Essence Hit Man won for the seventh time in 18 lifetime starts and upped his earnings to $732,806. This was his second win of the season, as he took the Jacques Cartier Stakes back in April over the same track. He was runner-up in his most recent try, an Oct. 30 allowance race.
"I had Jesse come back and breeze him after the last race, and I changed the equipment, and said, 'let's see if this will help'," said Cappuccitti. "He came back and said it really worked. He had a tiny bit more control. It's not that he's (Essence Hit Man) tough, he just wants to go and if you try to strangle him, it just doesn't work."
The second longest price in a field of six, Essence Hit Man paid $17.70, $7.90, and $5.10. The exacta (5-3) returned $66.50 and the trifecta (5-3-4) was worth $385.