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Capri makes for Aidan’s Derby dozen

Saturday’s sixth race at Monmouth Park, won by Kubu, was run in memory of the late Fr. Mychal Judge. Presenting the trophy to owner/trainer Kathleen O’Connell and jockey Carlos Hernandez were members of AOH Division 1 Hudson County Jerry Healy, Nicole Pileggi, Pete Brennan, Jacklyn Rizzo, Matt McGinn and Mike Collum.


By John Manley

Aidan O’Brien sent out his 12th Irish Derby winner in Capri, a mild upset winner at The Curragh on Saturday. The more fancied Wings of Eagles, winner of last month’s Epsom Derby, finished second.

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Capri, a gray son of Galileo, was one of five horses saddled by O’Brien for this classic race. Jockey Seamus Heffernan sent Capri to the lead about two furlongs from home and held off Wings of Eagles by a neck. This is Heffernan’s third spin in the winner’s enclosure after the Derby.

Perhaps Wings of Eagles came up short due to a sesamoid injury that was detected on Sunday morning when the colt had returned to Ballydoyle. X-rays revealed the extent of the damage done and O’Brien revealed that the colt has been retired.

Trainer Aidan O'Brien and jockey Seamus Heffernan celebrate

winning the Irish Derby with Capri at the Curragh, Co. Kildare.


Judy’s Chance, a 4-year-old filly trained by Derek Ryan, ran her winning streak to five races by taking the eighth race, a second-level allowance route on the lawn, at Parx on Saturday. Judy Sessa’s homebred disputed the early pace under Jose Flores, put her pace rival away around the far turn, opened a clear lead straightening for home and dug in to reach the wire two lengths in front. Judy’s Chance, a New Jersey-bred filly, is now 6-for-8 with two second-place finishes since Ryan transferred her to the grass late last year. She paid $4.60 to win at Parx.

David Moran scored a stakes victory in Woodbine’s Queen’s Plate Festival by rallying Financial Recovery to a half-length triumph in the Ontario Damsel on Saturday. The 3-year-old filly trailed her seven rivals early in this mile on the lawn until she made up ground beginning a half-mile from the finish. This was Moran’s first ride aboard Financial Recovery, which brought a 1-for-7 record into the race. She returned $12.50 to win.

John Haran got his money’s worth out of Desert Image, a 5-year-old mare that he claimed in April for $5,000. In her third race off the claim and second attempt on grass, she pulled a shocker in Wednesday’s third race at Indiana Grand. She led throughout under Tom Pompell to score by three lengths against a field of claiming sprinters at the $16,000 tier. A select few members of the wagering public also got their money’s worth out of Desert Image; she paid $99.80 to win.


Churchill Downs brought down the curtain on the spring meet with a Friday night program that had a distinct Irish tinge. Eddie Kenneally swept the early double, sending out Anderson Thoroughbreds’ Parlor to win the first race, a feat mirrored by Flashy Jewel, owned by Kenneally and Brian Chenvert, in the second race. Parlor, ridden by Julien Leparoux, paid $3.00 to win, while Flashy Jewel, with Corey Lanerie aboard, returned $12.20 to win. The double came back $22.20 for $2.

Brendan Walsh then capped off a successful meet when he sent out Reddam Racing’s Blabimir to victory in the fifth race, a claiming sprint on the main track. Lanerie, the meet’s leading rider, brought the gelding home in front by just over a length after leading every step of the race. This was Walsh’s 14th win at the stand, which placed him sixth in the trainers’ race. Blabimir, which paid $7.40 to win, was claimed out of the race.

Then, five minutes shy of the witching hour, Declan Cannon and James Graham finished 1-2 aboard Flatter the Queen and Hardly a Secret in the nightcap, a maiden claiming mile that was run over a main track that went from fast to muddy over the course of the evening. Cannon’s mount, the winner by one length, returned a resounding $109.60 to win. The exacta with Graham’s mount, a 12-1 shot, returned $1,340.20 for $2.

Hours later, the action in Kentucky moved to Ellis Park, where Graham and Cannon combined for another, less lucrative, exacta. Graham, aboard Cantcatchchanneled, had a neck on Cannon and Divining Change in this maiden claiming mile on the grass. Graham’s mount paid $8.20 to win, with the exacta returning $36.40.