Trainer Phillip Capuano Registers First Two Maryland Victories

Trainer Phillip Capuano Registers First Two Maryland Victories

Shake Em Loose Set to Return in Laurel Sunday Feature
Jockey Kevin Gomez Gets First Win of Comeback Saturday
Rainbow 6, Super Hi-5 Carryovers for Eight-Race Card Sunday

BALTIMORE – Louis Ulman’s 3-year-old colt Imagine a Cure ($12) dug in again after being passed by Bubba Chrome in mid-stretch and surged late for a half-length victory in Race 2 Saturday at Laurel Park to give trainer Phillip Capuano his first career winner in Maryland.

Capuano, 29, took over the stable from his uncle, Dale Capuano, a winner of 3,662 races who retired effective Jan. 1 following a 41-year training career based in Maryland.

Imagine a Cure’s win came less than 16 hours after Capuano, the son of fellow Maryland-based trainer Gary Capuano, registered his first career winner with Neil Glasser’s 6-year-old mare Thunderturtle Friday night at Charles Town.

Glasser and Ulman were both longtime clients of Dale Capuano. Imagine a Cure, a Maryland-bred by Imagining, was making his sophomore debut after going winless with a second and a third in three tries at 2.

“It’s a blessing. I’m so happy that Lou decided to stay on with me and give me a shot,” Phillip Capuano said. “It’s just a tremendous opportunity.”

Capuano, who also ran fourth in Race 2 with Bruce Yarwood and Renee Latour’s Hopperness, picked up his second winner of the day with Steve Newby’s Vance Scholars ($9.80) in the Race 8 feature, a third-level ptional claiming allowance for 4-year-olds and up. Mopo Racing’s Walk Away Joe was fifth for Capuano in Race 7.

Shake Em Loose Set to Return in Laurel Sunday Feature

J R Sanchez Racing Stable’s claimer-turned-multiple stakes winner Shake Em Loose, unraced since last spring, is entered to make his comeback in Sunday’s feature race at Laurel Park.

Owned and trained by Rodolfo Sanchez-Salomon, Shake Em Loose drew outermost Post 6 with jockey Jean Alvelo in the open allowance for 4-year-olds and up going about 1 1/16 miles. They are rated at 12-1 on the morning line.

“He’s doing really good and hopefully he gives me a good race,” Sanchez-Salomon said. “This is the spot that came up for him, and he’s going into the race pretty good. I hope he runs his race.”

Shake Em Loose, a gelded 4-year-old son of Grade 1 winner Shakin It Up, hasn’t raced since finishing sixth in the James W. Murphy on turf on the undercard of the 147th Preakness Stakes (G1), Middle Jewel of the Triple Crown, at historic Pimlico Race Course.

Sanchez-Salomon said Shake Em Loose had some chips removed from his ankles after the Murphy and the trainer gave him plenty of time before bringing him back to the barn in early October. He has had five timed breezes since Dec. 3 at Laurel, most recently going five furlongs in 1:00.60 Jan. 7, fifth-fastest of 30 horses.

“He’s doing awesome and training really, really good. I hope he gives me his best,” Sanchez-Salomon said. “We’ll see. He’s training unbelievably good right now, so hopefully he can come back better than he was before.”

Sanchez-Salomon claimed Shake Em Loose for $16,000 out of a November 2021 maiden victory and ran him right back in the Heft for 2-year-olds, winning at odds of 59-1. Shake Em Loose won the 2022 Private Terms in his third start at 3, after which he was a made a late nominee to the Triple Crown. He ran third in the Federico Tesio and, after being considered for the Preakness, ultimately started in the Murphy.

A $1,000 yearling purchase in 2020, Shake Em Loose has four wins, one second, two thirds and $198,375 in purse earnings from 12 starts.

“I hope he can continue to be a nice horse,” Sanchez-Salomon said. “We’ll learn a lot from this race. After this, we’ll decide where to go.”

The 8-5 program favorite is Frank Sample’s Washington-bred Zabracadabra, a 6-year-old Harbor the Gold gelding trained by Gary Capuano that owns three wins and three seconds in nine races at Laurel and exits a 4 ¼-length optional claiming victory Dec. 17.

King of Dreams, winner of the 2021 Showing Up on Tapeta at Gulfstream Park; multiple stakes-placed Workin On a Dream; Amatteroftime, beaten a nose by Grade 3 winner Ridin With Biden in the Jan. 4 Kris Kringle at Parx; and American d’Oro are also entered.

Post time for the first of eight races Sunday is 12:25 p.m.

Jockey Kevin Gomez Gets First Win of Comeback Saturday

SAB Stable, Inc.’s Late Night Larry ($10.60) shook free of Down Cold in mid-stretch and sprinted clear to a 3 ½-length victory in Saturday’s opener at Laurel Park, giving jockey Kevin Gomez the first win of his comeback.

Gomez, 28, returned to riding Jan. 6 for the first time since having surgery to repair a broken collarbone suffered in an Oct. 21 spill at Laurel on the eve of the 37th Jim McKay Maryland Million Day program. Also hurt was jockey Victor Carrasco, who has yet to return.

“I borrowed an Equicizer from Victor Carrasco so that’s what I’ve been using at home,” Gomez said. “When I’m not on horses I’m on the Equicizer trying to get back in shape.”

A native of Guatemala and a finalist for the 2016 Eclipse Award as champion apprentice, Gomez had gone 0-for-7 since returning. Previously ridden to victory by Jaime Rodriguez, Late Night Larry is trained by Brittany Russell, for whom Gomez frequently rides in the morning. She is married to champion jockey Sheldon Russell.

“I hadn’t been on him in the mornings, but I watched the replays and Jaime Rodriguez told me a little bit about the horse and I just tried to follow instructions,” Gomez said. “It feels great, especially for Brittany. She’s a great trainer and it’s always great to win for those kinds of people. Her and Sheldon have been helping me a lot, so that means a lot to me.”

Gomez had one other mount Saturday, 4-year-old gelding Tego, in Race 5. He is named in four races Sunday and one race on Monday’s special Martin Luther King Jr. holiday program.

Notes: Trainer Mike Trombetta saddled back-to-back winners Saturday, Mose Perfect ($5.80) in Race 6 and Torch of Truth ($11.40) in Race 7 … Sevier ($4.40), owned by Morris Kernan Jr., Yo Berbs and trainer Jamie Ness’ Jagger, Inc., reeled in front-running Charge to Victory and pulled away to earn his 26th career victory in Race 3 Saturday, a six-furlong starter optional claimer for 4-year-olds and up. The 9-year-old Union Rags gelding pushed his bankroll to $699,681 from 66 lifetime starts … There will be carryovers of $4,768.16 in the 20-cent Rainbow 6 (Races 3-8) and $789.88 in the $1 Super Hi-5 (Race 1) for Sunday’s eight-race program that begins at 12:25 p.m. Tickets with five of six winners in Saturday’s Rainbow 6 each returned $139.78.