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Capo Bastone Charges Late to Win King’s Bishop Stakes

Capo Bastone rallied from off the pace to collar pacesetter Mentor Cane in the stretch to post a 28-1 upset in the King’s Bishop (G1) at Saratoga on Saturday.

Capo Bastone

Capo Bastone

Ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., Capo Bastone split horses at the three-sixteenths pole, took command in deep stretch and won going away by two lengths.

Capo Bastone returned $58.50 for a $2 win wager and completed seven furlongs in 1:22.22.

“When I asked him, he picked it up, and he did the job,” said Ortiz. “He was ready today. [Trainer Todd Pletcher] put me on the right horse. The horse was great, that’s all I can say. I just waited to the three-eighths pole like the trainer told me. I just followed the instructions.”

The Foxwoods King’s Bishop was the fourth career Grade 1 victory at Saratoga for 21-year-old Ortiz, who in 2012 won the TVG Coaching Club American Oaks and Alabama with Questing and Forego with Emcee.

Capo Bastone was transferred to Pletcher following a 2-year-old campaign that included a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile for trainer John Sadler. In his debut for Pletcher, Capo Bastone won an entry-level optional claimer in February at Gulfstream Park, and then was ninth in the Grade 3 Spiral in March at Turfway Park.

Cut back to a one-turn mile for the Grade 3 Derby Trial in April at Churchill Downs, he finished second to Forty Tales by a neck. He entered the Foxwoods King’s Bishop off a seventh in Belmont Park’s Grade 2 Woody Stephens presented by NYRA Rewards on June 8, also won by Forty Tales.

“He’s shown, on his good days, that he’s good enough to compete in a race like this,” said Pletcher, who trains Capo Bastone for Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners. “He was pretty close to Forty Tales in the Derby Trial, and it seemed like he was training better than ever. Based off his breeze with [beaten Travers favorite] Verrazano [on Sunday], we felt like it was time to take a shot. It seemed like everything was gelling at the right time, and he was sitting on a good one, so we felt like, ‘Let’s try a big one.’ It seems like he has found his niche. I think he gets a mile, no problem, but this was a good set-up for him today.”

With his Foxwoods King’s Bishop victory, Capo Bastone improved his record to 3-1-2 in nine starts and earned $300,000. His lifetime earnings now stand at $659,608.

NYRA photo