News & Barn notes

Captian Dixie Returns To Stakes Action In Sunday’s Cliff Hanger

August 20, 2016

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Captain Dixie comes back to the Monmouth turf in his second try for graded stakes glory when he faces seven rivals in the Grade 3, $100,000 Cliff Hanger Stakes going a mile and a eighth.

Captain Dixie was last seen on Haskell Day in the Grade 3 Oceanport Stakes over a yielding turf course when he had to go four wide around the far turn, finishing fourth by three lengths.

The 5-year-old gelding by Henrythenavigator out of the Dixieland Band mare Dixie Dos has made one other run in graded stakes company in the Grade 2 Dixie Stakes at Pimlico where he finished fourth by only three quarters of a length behind graded stakes winners Takeover Target, Ring Weekend and Grand Arch.

The last time Captain Dixie ran over a firm turf course, he rallied from off the pace, going three wide off the far turn, to score a two length victory in a $40,000 allowance optional claiming event on April 30 at Laurel Park.

“He’s been doing fine,” said Jamie Ness, who conditions the horse for James Wolf, Timothy Hopkins and Jagger Inc. “He didn’t run bad in his last two over a softer turf, but he seems to like running over a firmer turf more and he ran really good three starts back.”

Captain Dixie hasn’t worked since his run in the Oceanport. His most recent work came over the Delaware Park main track on July 24 when he went five furlongs in 1:02.

Captain Dixie will have to get by a pair from the high percentage Jason Servis’ barn, Hothersal and Riviere du Loup, as well as two runners entering the gate that are coming into the Cliff Hanger with wins in their latest outings. Heiko, for Dimitrios Synnefias, is riding a three-race win streak and Il Segreto, who makes his first in the United States for Christophe Clement after winning an allowance event by a half-length in his last race in France.

The Cliff Hanger is set as race 8 in Sunday’s 9-race card. Gates open at 11:30 a.m., with first post scheduled for 12:50 p.m.