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Capo Bastone to train up to BC Turf Sprint

The King's Bishop winner will make his grass debut in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint (Jessie Holmes/EquiSport Photos)

Capo Bastone, winner of last month's King's Bishop at Saratoga, will be trained up to the $1 million Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint, according to Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners President Aron Wellman and trainer Todd Pletcher.

Capo Bastone will be making his first ever start on the grass in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint.

"Historically, Capo Bastone has put forth his most brilliant performances with significant spacing between his races, which is the reason we've opted not to provide the colt with a traditional prep race between the King's Bishop and the Breeders' Cup," Wellman noted. "As for determining which Breeders Cup race to target, Todd (Pletcher) and I put a lot of thought into it, as his versatility lends itself to various options. When we honed in on the race we thought would give Capo the best chance to win, the Turf Sprint made the most sense, despite the unconventional nature of running a horse in a championship race over a surface he has never competed on previously.

"Capo Bastone has breezed very well on the turf and the downhill layout of the hillside turf course at Santa Anita is absolutely a made-to-order design for his late-running style," Wellman added. "Although it's technically a 6 1/2-furlong race, due to its configuration, the course plays much closer to a mile and come-from-behind elongated sprinters tend to be extremely effective in this race."

Joel Rosario has committed to riding Capo Bastone in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint. Rosario has ridden Capo Bastone once before and that was to a third-place finish in last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

Of the switch in jockey from Irad Ortiz Jr., who piloted Capo Bastone to his King's Bishop triumph to Rosario, Wellman explained, "Irad rode a flawless race in the King's Bishop. There is no disputing that and we are grateful for the spectacular ride he put up that day. However, the downhill turf course at Santa Anita is the most unique configuration of any race in America. Familiarity with the nuance of the circuit is absolutely critical for a jockey. Timing as to how to maneuver and when is emphasized beyond articulation. So, for this race, we thought it important to have a jockey who had plenty of prior big race experience over the course and Joel fit the bill."

On Saturday, Capo Bastone had his first published workout since the King's Bishop when he breezed a half-mile in company with Verrazano in :49 at Belmont Park.

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