Captain Crunch, Captain Ahab and Stag Party all turned in statement performances in Saturday’s Nassagaweya Stakes at Woodbine Mohawk Park. A group of 24 rookie pacing colts and geldings were entered in the Nassagaweya and split into three divisions. While Key West, Quebec Blue Chip and Tall Drink Hanover captured their respective divisions of the Eternal Camnation.
Captain Crunch stayed undefeated through three career starts with a prominent score in the first division of Saturday’s C$92,127 Nassagaweya Stakes, at Woodbine Mohawk Park.
Trained by Nancy Johansson for owners 3 Brothers Stables, Christina Takter, Rojan Stables and Caviart Farms, Captain Crunch was steered aggressively to the front by Scott Zeron, overtaking the quick leaving Acton Hanover and Machdavid, to mark the opening quarter in :27.1
Captain Crunch and Acton Hanover separated themselves from the pack down the backstretch and milked the half-mile in :56 flat as Lyons Johnny Jr was sent first-up to try and reel in the leaders. However, Captain Crunch was not to be tested and easily put away their bids with plenty in reserve to hold off a belated charge from Goldberg. The undefeated son of Captaintreacherous stopped the clock in 1:52 flat.
The raced colt was earning his first added-money score with the Nassagaweya coup.
"They chose to stay away from the Grand Circuit horses for awhile and just aim at the Metro Pace and so far, it’s worked out," said Zeron.
Zeron feels that Captain Crunch, a serial victor thus far, can only improve going forward.
"I find with every good horse you drive, everything’s effortless," said Zeron. "It’s so easy for him to do and he covers the ground so well. I thought he had the potential to be this kind of calibre and hopefully he gets better."
Although Captain Crunch bowled quickly to the lead off the gate, he did so well in hand for Zeron.
"He’s very well mannered, very good to drive and I think he can do it any way…versatile on the track. We chose to stay out of people’s way and go to the front," said Zeron.
The veteran driver, who recently took the Hambletonian with filly Atlanta, may have another star on his hands with the Metro Pace eliminations looming on Sept. 15, at Mohawk Park.
"Hopefully he’s just at the right point to be fresh and win that," said Zeron.
Captain Crunch, bred by Walnridge Farm Inc, and Sherri K. Meir of Creamridge N.J., banked C$46,063 in victory. He paid $3.10 to win.
Captain Ahab converted off a perfect second-over steer from Andrew McCarthy to win the C$92,127 second Nassagaweya Stakes division in 1:51.4. rained by Tony Alagna for Brittany Farms LLC, Brad Grant, Vincent Barbera and Captain Ahab Racing, Captain Ahab got away fifth and watched Maintenance Man charge out to post a :26.4 opening uarter.
Maintenance Man raced by the half in :55.4 and led into the far turn. Sporty McSportster committed first up from fourth, supplying cover for Captain Ahab and the outside pair powered up towards the leader at three-quarters in 1:24.
Captain Ahab came out of the turn three-wide and immediately paced by his rivals to claim the lead and cruise home for his fifth win in five starts. Lyons Night Hawk followed the winner’s path and finished 1-1/4 lengths back in second.The superfecta was completed by Sports Teen and Tyga Hanover.
"It worked out great tonight," said McCarthy following the race. "They sped out of there and I got to race him the way I like to race him. He does love passing horses."
Captain Ahab has the look of a special colt and continues to impress his trainer with each start.
"The only thing we were concerned about a little bit is he’s such a tall colt we wanted to make sure he had enough power," said Alagna. "It’s amazing the more I do with him and the more I race him the healthier he gets. He looks great tonight."
Captain Ahab was a $100,000 Lexington Selected Yearling Sale purchase. He paid $2.10 to win.
Stag Party put a beating on his rivals in the C$92,127 third Nassagaweya Stakes division for driver David Miller and trainer Casie Coleman.
A son of Bettors Delight, Stag Party got away fifth and allowed his rivals to shake things out before making an effortless rush to the lead. The Coleman trainee reached three-quarters in 1:24. and proceeded to draw away with ease to win by 10 lengths in 1:52.2.
"Leaving the gate it looked like a couple guys going at it pretty hard, so I jumped in a hole," said Miller post-race. "I was hoping to get cover but when he was first up I went ahead and took a run for the lead and he cleared and did everything else very easy.
"He’s pretty handy, he’s great gaited and he’s got a lot of go, so good qualities."
The Regulator finished second, while Odds On Boca Raton and Macs Power were third and fourth, respectively.
Owned by John Fielding, Mac Nichol, McKinlay & Fielding and West Wins Stable, Stag Party now has four wins in five starts with his only loss being a disqualification from first to second.
Stag Party was a $125,000 Harrisburg Yearling Sale purchase.
A $2 win ticket on Stag Party returned $2.60.
All three Nassagaweya winners are eligible to the Champlain Stakes on Sept. 8. (WEG)