MILTON, ON—Tony Alagna’s primary focus has been training younger horses, with his colt-turned-stallion Captaintreacherous providing him with Grand Circuit success. Now this weekend, Alagna is sitting pretty with the morning-line favourite in all four of Saturday’s Champlain Stakes divisions at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
Reflect With Me starts Alagna’s night in Race 3, the $94,299 first division of Champlain Stakes for two-year-old pacing fillies. The Captaintreacherous filly lost in both of her starts stateside but has since been undefeated in stakes company at Mohawk Park. Yet, even in defeat in her early starts, Reflect With Me separated herself from the competition with back-to-back :25.1 final quarters in divisions of the Kindergarten.
“She always showed that [speed],” Alagna said. “Training down, she would always be the filly that would be training late, coming late in the training sets in Florida. She just always had an incredible amount of finish, even from early on. I wish I could take credit for it, but that’s definitely something she was born with because she just loves to chase horses down and its fun for her.”
Regular-reinsman Andrew McCarthy will steer the filly from post 4 for owner-breeder Brittany Farms LLC and co-owner Brad Grant.
Alagna’s next starter, another Captaintreacherous colt, competes from post 3 in the $90,938 first division of Champlain Stakes for pacing freshmen. Captain Kirk, who will be driven by Bob McClure for owner-breeder Brittany Farms LLC and co-owners Marvin Katz and Captain Kirk Racing, shipped north following a 22-1 upset victory in a division of Kindergarten on July 19 at the Meadowlands.
“We always knew the colt had ability,” Alagna said. “He was a little overshadowed by the other colts we had in that division because they had qualified a little better than him. But he was always a horse that, if he got the right kind of trip and shook loose, he had a huge turn of speed late. That’s what happened that night, he got a great trip, and when he shook loose he was loaded with pace.”
Captain Kirk has finished third in all four of his starts at Mohawk Park. Three starts ago he finished behind OSS-star Tall Dark Stranger and in his last two starts he’s given chase to his stablemates Capt Midnight and Captain Nemo.
“I don’t think it’s so much that he’s struggling. I think he’s just run into two excellent colts in the other two colts of mine,” Alagna said. “If you took those other two colts out of those divisions, those are the only two colts that have been able to beat him up there, so…”
Capt Midnight competes in the other Champlain division, carded as Race 10 with a purse of $89,938. The Captaintreacherous colt lost in his first two starts, racing from off the pace in divisions of the Kindergarten at the Meadowlands. But the colt shifted tactics when shipping to Mohawk, winning all three of his starts either on or near the lead.
“He won his first baby race in :52 and change,” Alagna said. “When he came back, he had some road trouble and got a little lost when he came first over in the one division of the Kindergarten, and in the other division of the Kindergarten he was too far back. Once he got to Canada it was his third start and he got his groove.”
McCarthy will also drive Capt Midnight, who starts from post 2, for owners Marvin Katz, Kenneth Jacobs, Brad Grant and Captain Kirk Racing.
Alagna also sends another frosh filly, Lady Lou, from post 2 in the $95,298 second division of Champlain for two-year-old pacing fillies, carded as Race 6. The daughter of Sweet Lou has one win on her record but has given chase to better fillies in recent starts, including stablemate Reflect With Me as well as OSS phenom Alicorn.
“We had confidence in her when we sent her up there because you know I don’t like to send them up if I don’t think they can be a player in those stakes,” Alagna said. “She’s another one [who’s] been overshadowed by Reflect With Me but this is a very nice filly in her own right. She’s been stuck first over I think her last three starts. I think one of these days things are going to go her way and she’s going to get her payday but like I said she’s a very nice filly in her own right.”
Amid the freshmen in competition, Alagna will also send his sophomore pacing filly Tall Drink Hanover to the track in the $168,557 Simcoe Stakes, carded as Race 8. The Captaintreacherous filly, Alagna said, has had things “go her way—I don’t think she was any worse than she is now; I don’t think she’s gotten any better. I think things have finally started to go her way as far as post-position draws and trips.”
She enters the Simcoe off four-consecutive victories in stakes, including wins in a division of the Adioo Volo and the $100,362 Shady Daisy final. Andrew McCarthy will sit in the sulky from post 4 for owners Alagna Racing LLC, Marvin Katz and Riverview Racing LLC.
Saturday’s stakes program at Mohawk Park is the second of four weekends of Grand Circuit racing at the Milton oval. The 12-race program kicks off with first-race post at 7:10 p.m. (EDT).
BY RAY COTOLO FOR WOODBINE.COM