By Ed DeRosa
Capensis looked like two million bucks winning the $300,000 Virginia Derby (G2) on Tuesday at Colonial Downs.
The Tapit colt out of Grade 1 winner Tara’s Tango rewarded the confidence of Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher, rebounding from an even-money loss in his second career start to win Virginia’s richest race by two lengths.
“It’s always difficult to go maiden to allowance company against experienced, older horses,” Pletcher said. “He drew a far outside post that day and literally was as far wide as you could be. That race was better than it looks on paper. After the race, he breezed in company with (graded-stakes winner) Annapolis and held his own with him. That made us confident that his debut was the real Capensis.”
Capensis won his debut at Belmont Park by five lengths before coming up 1 1/2 lengths short in an entry-level allowance at Saratoga on July 30.
Jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. picked up the ride on Capensis when his brother, Jose, opted to stick with the Shug McGaughey-trained Limited Liability. The elder Ortiz said he worked Capensis in the mornings and knew the colt was ready.