TROT N.A. Cup Spring Book Profile: Captain Albano

Captain Albano

With the date of the 2024 Pepsi North America Cup eliminations less than four weeks away, Trot Insider will profile some of the race's top contenders as horses ready to compete for one of Canadian harness racing's biggest prizes.

Coming in at 4-1 odds, Dan Patch Award winner Captain Albano was ranked at No. 1 in TROT Magazine's 2024 Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book.

The 2024 chart topper made nine starts in his award-winning freshman campaign, returning a winner on seven occasions in addition to two seconds. Banking $445,680, the son of Captaintreacherous and the American Ideal mare Angelou ramped up his career through the Pennsylvania Sires Stakes (PASS), winning the $252,000 PASS final on Sept. 2 in 1:50.2. Twenty-seven days later, Captain Albano earned his new career best of 1:49.2 at The Red Mile in an $87,000 Bluegrass Stakes division. His two-year-old year completed on Oct. 27 with a second-place finish in the Breeders Crown final. Noel Daley trains Captain Albano for owners Patricia Stable, L A Express And Sjoblom Inc. and Michael Dolan.

"He knows what he has to do," trainer Daley told Trot Insider. "He's a really nice horse and does just what he has to do."

In advance of Captain Albano's first sophomore pari-mutuel start this Saturday, May 18 at Pocono Downs, Trot Insider caught up with Daley — the winner of the 2022 Pepsi North America Cup with Pebble Beach —  to discuss the 2024 N.A. Cup Spring Book favourite.

Where did he winter and when did you start back with him?

"We left him in Kentucky at Walnut Hall. I started back with him bright and early in the beginning of January. It's been a good while, but I just get plenty of work after him without any real speed work."

Have you noticed any changes from last year to this year?

"He's come back really good, he's filled out. He was just an average-sized horse, but he really filled out like a quarter horse."

He's now qualified twice. What will his tentative early schedule look like leading up to the Pepsi North America Cup?

"We'll get a couple of sires stakes into him, all being good, later in the month. Then, I aim to send him up there to the North America [Cup] after a couple of starts here.

"I planned on missing the first sires stakes at The Meadows. We're aiming for the 18th there at the Poconos to be his first start."

What does his tentative schedule look like after the North America Cup?

"He's in basically everything -- the Meadowlands Pace, races at Poconos, the Adios. When you have one like him, you can pretty much afford to pay up for most things. You have to have the options."

At what point last year did you think this horse was North America Cup material?

"Early he [Captain Albano] was always nice in the barn, but Pebble Beach always sort of had an air about him, he had a bit of personality. I always thought I'm pretty sure this horse is pretty good.

"I'll be honest, my second trainers, they all told me straight up this one's as good as [Pebble Beach]. But, I wasn't sure because he was always just there. He never made a statement about himself, training him down. He just kept putting it together and just doing what he had to do basically."

As someone who has won this race before with Pebble Beach, how does it feel to have another legit shot at the North America Cup?

"That was a great race we had up there with that fella. For whatever reason, he was probably better up there than he was anywhere. It would be awesome to be able to do it again, and it's a pretty flashy trophy you get out of it, too!"

Previous Pepsi North America Cup Spring Book Profiles:

(Standardbred Canada)

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