Trainer Gary Capuano returns to the Triple Crown trail Saturday with Maryland-bred Cherokee's Boy in the $150,000 Federico Tesio Stakes at Pimlico. Six years ago Capuano conditioned Captain Bodgit to victories in the Florida Derby and Wood Memorial Stakes, a second place finish in the Kentucky Derby and a thrilling third place in the Preakness."If everything works well we'll probably try the Preakness," said Capuano, the younger brother of conditioner Dale Capuano. "The Derby is pretty much out. He doesn't seem to fit with those kind of horses at this point."Cherokee's Boy has been tabbed as the overwhelming 3-2 choice in the Tesio, which drew six starters.Owned by Z W P Stable, Cherokee's Boy has won five of 11 career starts, including four restricted stakes victories, with earnings of $324,929. Against open company in added money races, the son of Citidancer has three third place finishes, including the Laurel Futurity (gr. III) last November, a race won by Toccet. Two weeks ago he finished fifth in the Illinois Derby (gr. II). "He really didn't have a real excuse," added Capuano. "My horse was in a perfect striking position and we moved to 'em turning for home, but he just didn't have enough." Ryan Fogelsonger will ride Cherokee's Boy in the Tesio."A lot of good horses didn't handle that track at Hawthorne," said Fogelsonger. "Should he be able to sit close enough in this race, he's going to be tough. No matter what, he is never going to give up. He won the Maryland Million at Pimlico and the only question is the distance. If he runs well here there shouldn't be a reason not to try the Preakness.""It is back a little quick but we are hoping things will work out for the Preakness," said Capuano. "Pimlico is a little more speed favoring ... and that kind of makes me want to point more towards that."2002 Tesio runner-up Magic Weisner finished second in the 127th Preakness Stakes, while Preakness winner Deputed Testamony won this race in 1983. Other Tesio winners who have competed in the Visa Triple Crown include Broad Brush (1986), Private Terms (1988), Oliver's Twist (1995) and Marciano (2001).Gimmeawink, who won the Miracle Wood Stakes at Laurel Park in February, is the second choice at 2-1. In his last start, the Tim Ritchey trainee was sixth in the Gotham Stakes (gr. III) in New York.Penobscot Bay, who finished a length and a quarter behind Gimmeawink in the Miracle Wood, is the 7-2 third choice.High Watermark (8-1), Seattle Surprise (8-1) and Gang (10-1) round out the field.The Tesio will be shown on ESPN 2 between 6 and 7 p.m. EDT as part of the NTRA's Road To The Visa Triple Crown series.$150,000 Federico Tesio Stakes, 3-year-olds, 1 1/8 mile
PP. Horse, Jockey, Wgt.
1. High Watermark (MD), Mario G. Pino, 115
2. Gimmeawink (KY), Clinton L. Potts, 119
3. Cherokee's Boy (MD), Ryan Fogelsonger, 119
4. Penobscot Bay (KY), Ramon A. Dominguez, 115
5. Seattle Surprise (FL), Harry Vega, 117
6. Gang (KY), Anthony Mawing, 115