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Barn Notes

Spina Hopeful Captain Derek Can Be an All-Star

Posted Saturday, Sep 15, 2012

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            There’s nothing better than having a good 2-year-old in the barn. That is, unless there are two of them.

            Chuck Spina, who has owned and trained horses at Monmouth for 42 years, is high on a pair of juveniles and with good reason. Captain Derek, whom he named after New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter, broke his maiden at second asking recently and Briteliteinthecity, a Kentucky-bred son of City Zip, shows promise of getting to the winner’s circle when he runs here on Sunday.

            “I’m a big Yankees fan and I always name my horses after them,” said Spina. “I’ve got Mo’s Rivera named for (All-Star reliever) Mariano Rivera and Mo’s Cutter, named for his signature pitch. Captain Derek is by Brother Derek, so that was an obvious choice for his name.”

            When Captain Derek crossed under the wire first in the maiden special ranks at 5 ½ furlongs on September 2, he became the first winner for Kentucky freshman sire and 2006 Triple Crown campaigner Brother Derek.

            “I can’t wait to send him long,” said Spina, who purchased the colt with Gayle and Joseph Ioia for $32,000 at the Ocala Breeders Sale this past April. “His daddy won the Santa Anita Derby and all his money going long, and the longer this colt goes the better he’ll be. Just like his namesake, Captain Derek is very handsome and very athletic. Right now he couldn’t be doing any better. He’s awesome.”

            The chestnut gelding, who is out of the Thunder Gulch mare Thunder Serenade, underwent his early lessons and initial training at New Castle Farm in Ocala, Florida, which is owned by former longtime Monmouth trainer J.J. Crupi. Briteliteinthecity, who is also owned by Spina and the Ioias, shares the same upbringing.

Briteliteinthecity is still a maiden after three starts at Monmouth in July and August but his trainer thinks that can change in Sunday’s second race.

            “He’s a really nice two-year-old, too,” said Spina, who got both of the geldings from Crupi’s consignment at the OBS sale. “His first time out, he got into a lot of trouble and had to be steadied, then he got into more trouble in his next two starts.”

            On Sunday, Joe Bravo will ride Briteliteinthecity for the first time.


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