Captain Luke stalks, soars to Governor’s Cup score

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Captain Luke and driver Todd McCarthy found room along the pylons at the top of the stretch and finished powerfully to capture the $454,000 Governor’s Cup, for 2-year-old pacing colts and geldings, Saturday night (Nov. 25) at the Meadowlands. The son of Captaintreacherous completed the mile in 1:51, giving trainer Tony Alagna back-to-back Cup’s, following El Rey’s victory in 2022.

McCarthy got away quickly from post two and forced Newsroom into a hole into the first turn. Second choice Lou Vuitton and driver Tim Tetrick marched up and took control past the :27.3 opening quarter, leaving Captain Luke in the pocket.

The pace slowed in the second quarter as Newsroom headed to the outside but kept position as Tetrick and Lou Vuitton hit the half in a comfortable :56. The pace picked  up as Newsroom and David Miller marched up strongly in the third quarter, followed by Maxim Hanover and Its Saturday Night in the second- and third-over positions.

Lou Vuitton was still on the lead through three-quarters in 1:24.1, but turning into the homestretch, he bore off the pylons, allowing McCarthy and Captain Luke full clearance. That opening was all Captain Luke needed as he quickly took advantage and opened significant ground on the closers, winning by 2-1/2 lengths. Its Saturday Night and Marcus Miller finished with the most pace, coming wide to secure the second spot, while Maxim Hanover was outkicked but settled for third.

Owned by Robert LeBlanc, Pryde Stables Inc., Bradley Grant and Steven Head, Captain Luke was a winner for just the second time in 12 career starts with both coming after the addition of Lasix. He has earned $332,109 to date.

As the 7-5 betting favorite, Captain Luke returned $4.80 to win; the exacta, including Its Saturday Night, returned $73.20; and the trifecta, with Maxim Hanover, was worth $303.20.

“He was an immature colt that we had a lot of expectations for,” said Alagna of Captain Luke. “I’m expecting big things from this horse next year.”

“He’s a little green,” said McCarthy. “He’s got a great attitude and he’s starting to put it all together.”

Captain Luke was bred by Vieux Carré Farms.