Gary Capuano springs a surprise in feature HORSE RACING

The public made the two-horse entry trained by Dale Capuano the favorite in the $28,000 Laurel feature yesterday, but it was Capuano's younger brother, Gary, who won the race with Ibex.

Ibex is not known primarily as a sprinter. He is probably known best for setting the pace against some of the nation's best older horses in the Pimlico Special. He tired after about a mile in the 1 3/16-mile race and finished fifth.


"He was so sharp and speed crazy in his last couple of races [going long] that I thought the best thing now would be to sprint him, to try to get him to relax," Gary Capuano said. "I knew in sprints he couldn't outrun horses like Hooliganisim or Speakerphone early."

Yesterday's race was the 6-year-old gelding's first sprint race of 1993. Gary Capuano's strategy worked.


His brother's speed horse, One Tuff Oop, set the early pace, pressed by Hooliganisim and Speakerphone. One Tuff Oop hung on with the best of the sprint specialists but succumbed to the late run by Ibex in the final furlong and finished second.

Gary Capuano usually trains in the shadow of his older brother, preferring to have just 10 to 12 runners in his barn. But after quite a bit of success last year, he has 23 horses.

The Capuano brothers' younger sister, Gina, recently passed her trainer's test. "We're trying to convince her to take a string of horses to Delaware Park, but right now she hasn't made up her mind what she wants to do," Gary Capuano said.

NOTES: Herman Greenberg, breeder of Belmont Stakes winner, Colonial Affair, was at Laurel yesterday to watch a horse owned by his brother, Harold, run in the fourth race. Greenberg, who lives in Middleburg, Va., said that he owns a half-sister to Colonial Affair named Devil's Flirt, who is a 4-year-old maiden.

"She ran at Laurel last year, but then pulled a muscle behind," Greenberg said. Devil's Flirt is trained at Delaware Park by Noel Twyman and should race shortly.

Greenberg still owns Snuggle, the dam of Colonial Affair. "She's only 8 years old," he said. "She's back in foal, and we are selling a yearling half-sister to Colonial Affair at Keeneland this fall."