July 16, 2024

Carribean Caper takes on males in Thanksgiving Classic

Carribean Caper wins the 2021 Dogwood (Coady Photography/Churchill Downs)

Thursday’s traditional stakes dish at Fair Grounds, the $175,000 Thanksgiving Classic, will be served with a spicy twist as Carribean Caper takes on males. If the Speightstown filly prevails in the six-furlong dash, she’d give trainer Al Stall his fourth win in this race in the past seven years.

Carribean Caper was unbeaten through her first five starts, culminating in a six-length romp in the 2021 Dogwood (G3) at Churchill Downs. But she lost her perfect record in her comeback in the Aug. 16 Seeking the Pearl S. at Colonial Downs. Tiring off the 11-month layoff, she wound up fourth as the 17-10 favorite. Now she cuts back a furlong as a 4-1 chance on the morning line with regular rider Colby Hernandez.

Pegged as the 3-1 favorite is Heart Rhythm, winner of a Keeneland allowance first off the claim for John Ortiz. Reylu Gutierrez is back aboard on the rail. Sophomore Chattalot, an uncharacteristic fifth behind Heart Rhythm in that allowance, is eligible to be better second off the bench here. The Steve Asmussen pupil is 2-for-2 at this track and trip, including the Sugar Bowl S. last December.

Long Weekend and Surveillance likewise have course form. Long Weekend captured a Feb. 21 allowance here over future Grade 2 hero and Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) fourth Manny Wah. Also successful in a pair of Oaklawn stakes during his 2020 sophomore campaign, Long Weekend was a closing third at Horseshoe Indianapolis in his Nov. 2 tune-up. Surveillance, who sports a 2-for-2 mark on the local main track, just missed to O Besos two back at Churchill Downs. The Keith Desormeaux veteran was most recently fifth in the Bet on Sunshine S. beneath the Twin Spires.

Also last seen at Churchill is Ready to Pounce, a near-misser in a Sept. 15 allowance where he finished ahead of Surveillance (third) and Heart Rhythm (sixth). The well-bred Lothenbach Stables homebred enters on the upswing for Neil Pessin. Rounding out the cast is the Robertino Diodoro-trained Simply Wicked, who ships in from a Delta Downs allowance score.