TORONTO, April 7 - Essence Hit Man, who was named Canada's champion sprinter at Thursday's Sovereign Awards, captured the $168,300 Jacques Cartier Stakes, for the second year in a row, in familiar front-running fashion.

The Audre Cappuccitti trainee, who established a track record of 1:08.16 while winning the 2011 edition of the event, commanded the lead from the outside stall in the six furlong main track sprint marking a quarter in a reasonable :22.09 as Madman Diaries offered minimal pressure.

Essence Hit Man, under a calm ride by Jesse Campbell, improved his lead through the turn as Shabaab loomed into contention, hitting the half-mile mark in :44.48.

Campbell asked his charge for more run turning into the stretch and the gelding responded by opening up a three and a half-length lead, coasting to the wire two and three-quarter lengths in front of Big Band Sound. Essence Hit Man stopped the clock in 1:09.26.

Cappuccitti, who owns Essence Hit Man in partnership with her husband Gordon, was pleased with the fractions Campbell coaxed out of her champion sprinter.

"We didn't know what was going to happen today, there was so much speed (in the race)," said Cappuccitti. "I said to Jesse, 'Just ride your race and if we can just get him to not have a :43 (half-mile), and he didn't, which was perfect."

Campbell, making his third-consecutive appearance aboard the five-year-old gelding, believes Essence Hit Man is maturing.

"He's letting me ride him down the backside, he's not ramping it," said Campbell. "A tick under :45 for him is really reasonable. He's doing it the right way. Mentally, he's right. His coat is great and he showed it today."

Essence Hit Man returned $5.60, $3.90, $2.70, combining with Big Band Sound ($11, $5) for an $56.40 exactor. Paso Doble returned $2.50 to show.