“I thought she was definitely worth a shot, especially being a Kadabra filly with the Ontario Sires Stakes program and the opportunity to support Ontario racing.”
After a visit to Hanover Shoe Farms to preview yearlings for the Harrisburg sale last year, trainer Tony Alagna left with only one yearling on his mind. In search of a trotting filly for owner Tom Hill of Hamilton, Ont., he believed he had found the best one at Harrisburg. Purchased for $55,000 at the sale, Caprice Hill has bankrolled nearly $175,000 in six starts so far this year.
“She was very athletic in the field, I saw her at Hanover, I saw her in the barn and when we turned her out, she had natural balance,” said Alagna. “She had a great look to her, great attitude, the way she handled herself showed a lot of confidence. I thought she was definitely worth a shot, especially being a Kadabra filly with the Ontario Sires Stakes program and the opportunity to support Ontario racing.”
Broke to harness at the Alagna home base in New Jersey, ‘Caprice’ was then sent to Alagna’s mother, Donna Lee Ozment, in Chicago to prepare for her freshman campaign. Assured by his mother that the filly was one to watch, Alagna went out to see for himself over the winter.
“When I saw her, she did everything right. In April, Mom said ‘she’s ready to come to you’ and she’s proven to be a really nice filly. She’s been special from the get go.”
Easygoing around the barn, Caprice Hill has made good on her memorable first impression. She made her racing debut in a qualifier at Gaitway Farms and produced a 1:58 victory. When Tim Tetrick was forced to pick off for another horse, Yannick Gingras found himself with a filly that would assist in making 2015 a banner year for the catch driver.
“Yannick was at the baby races at Gaitway and Tim (Tetrick), who I had originally put down to drive her, had a conflict. I told Yannick I had a special filly and asked him if he’d go with her and he said ‘yes.’ When he pulled up, he said to me ‘I’ve never asked you for a commitment on a horse, but I really want to drive this filly, she’s something special’ and I told him ‘She’s yours to drive.’”
Gingras headed to Georgian Downs for Caprice Hill’s first start in Ontario Sires Stakes Gold action on July 12. The duo cruised to a seemingly effortless 1:55.2 mile – they left their competition four and a quarter lengths in arrears in what was a wire-to-wire victory. Gingras had guided the Kadabra filly to four victories in five starts prior to last Saturday, but he chose to drive the Jimmy Takter trainee All The Time in the Peaceful Way eliminations.
“In the elimination last week, he (Gingras) had a conflict with Takter, who is a big account of his, so he had to go with her, so Timmy Tetrick was the next choice. Things seem to work out in strange ways sometimes, since he was originally supposed to start her.”
Caprice Hill continued to flex her trotting muscles in her Peaceful Way elimination. She recorded a new mark of 1:55 in the elim and kicked home with a last quarter of :27.3. Caprice held off All The Time, who finished second. Emoticon Hanover rounded out the triactor.
“Any of the top drivers – any of the top six or eight in the country – with the right horse will get the job done. I have guys with whom I have a better working relationship, but she’s a good filly to drive and I don’t think the driver change is of any concern to her.
“She’s pretty easy going, she has her moments like any two-year-old trotting filly, but if anything it’s because she’s got a lot of play. She never does anything mean, she’s always feeling good and that’s part of the reason she carries it so well into the races as well, she’s got a lot of determination.”
Putting up the fastest mile of the three $30,000 eliminations, Caprice will face fellow elimination winners Celebrity Eventsy and Could It Be Magic. Elimination winners earned the right to pick their post in the final, and Caprice Hill’s connections chose Post 4.
“She’s really good coming out of the elimination, jogged back good and trained her today (September 15) at First Line Training Centre on Joe Stutzman’s farm. She trained light and good, she’s feeling good for Saturday.
“I think there are a good few nice trotting fillies, some that no one knows about and some who are headliners. Takter’s filly All The Time in the 10-hole is a quality filly, Emoticon Hanover has been really good so far and so has Celebrity Eventsy. There’s a handful that could get the job done.”
Alagna has two major stakes engagements remaining on her schedule for 2015, pointing her next to the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Finals before rounding out the season with the Breeders Crown.
“I don’t go into these races with any expectations. We take her to the races in the best shape possible and hope she has good luck, a good trip and she’ll do the rest.”
The lucrative Saturday night card at Mohawk Racetrack also features the finals of the William Wellwood Memorial, Elegantimage, Canadian Trotting Classic and Maple Leaf Trot. The first race on the program will head to post at 7:25 p.m.