Fear the Kitten, photo by Steve Queen, one of 11 to be feared by UNCAPTURED on Saturday
UPCAPTURED LEFT OCALA FOR TURFWAY PARK TODAY
John Oxley’s Canadian-bred Uncaptured, the probable champion 2yo in Canada come the April 19 Sovereign Awards, is leaving Ocala today for Turfway Park and a start in Saturday’s Spiral Stakes at 9 furlongs.
The colt’s longest test to date will come off the layoff and off recovering foot abscesses.
Miguel Mena rides the son of Lion Heart on Saturday.
A win by the colt would be nothing short of remarkable with a large field.
The race offers points for the Kentucky Derby, of which 30-40 will be needed to get into the Derby. Unpcatured loves Churchill Downs but has to prove he can handle the bears out there as well 9 furlongs and 10 furlongs.
POST 3, 3 TO 1 FOR UNCAPTURED
Entries for the $550,000 Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes (G3) at Turfway Park this Saturday were drawn Wednesday at the home of the race’s title sponsor. The draw brought no surprises, with all reported probables entering.
Oddsmaker Mike Battaglia marked Uncaptured the 3-1 favorite in a well-matched field of 12. The colt comes in off two straight stakes wins and a six-for-seven record as a 2-year-old, but the Spiral will be his first start since November. After a graduated series of shorter breezes, trainer Mark Casse sent him out for a one-mile breeze over the all-weather surface at the Ocala Training Center on March 12, which he completed in good order in 1:40 flat.
Results of the Spiral Stakes draw:
Post Horse Trainer Jockey Morning Line
1 Balance the Books Chad Brown Julien Leparoux 7-2
2 Channel Isle D. Wayne Lukas Jon Court 15-1
3 Uncaptured Mark Casse Miguel Mena 3-1
4 Fear the Kitten Michael Maker Rosie Napravnik 15-1
5 My Name is Michael Bill Mott Joel Rosario 10-1
6 For Greater Glory Steve Hobby Robby Albarado 20-1
7 Mac the Man Jeff Greenhill Norberto Arroyo Jr. 10-1
8 General Election Kellyn Gorder Albin Jimenez 12-1
9 Black Onyx Kelly Breen Joe Bravo 10-1
10 Giant Finish Tony Dutrow Jose Espinoza 15-1
11 Taken by the Storm Ken McPeek Alan Garcia 12-1
12 Capo Bastone Todd Pletcher John Velazquez 9-2
(In an earlier release, the jockey for Giant Finish was incorrectly reported as Victor Espinoza.)
Post positions for the $100,000 Fathead Bourbonette Oaks (G3) also were drawn at Wednesday’s event, held at Jack Binion Steak inside Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati. Heavily favored on Battaglia’s morning line is Ken McPeek’s standout trainee Pure Fun at 8-5.
Like the Spiral Stakes favorite, Pure Fun comes in off two straight wins, most recently the Hollywood Starlet (G1). And as for Uncaptured in the Spiral, the Bourbonette Oaks will be the first start of 2013 for Pure Fun, who raced eight times as a 2-year-old, winning three and finishing second once and third once.
“I normally stop on all my 2-year-olds turning 3 and give them a four- to six-week break,” said McPeek. “It’s a really good program to give them a little time. Pure Fun had really traveled all around and run a lot of races. She has come back really well and fired a couple of bullets in the morning working with Frac Daddy. All systems are go for Saturday.”
McPeek said he may consider giving Pure Fun one more start after the Bourbonette in preparation for the May 3 Kentucky Oaks (G1).
“It depends on the Kentucky Oaks points standings,” he said. “If needed, I could bring her back in the Ashland or the Fantasy.”
Garrett Gomez, who rode Pure Fun to victory in the Hollywood Starlet, will be back in the saddle for the Bourbonette.
Results for the Fathead Bourbonette Oaks draw:
Post Horse Trainer Jockey Morning Line
1 Street of Gold Eric Reed Ben Creed 30-1
2 Marathon Lady Steve Hobby Robby Albarado 12-1
3 Miss Squeal George Arnold II Alan Garcia 12-1
4 Le Fascinator Graham Motion Joel Rosario 6-1
5 Pure Fun Ken McPeek Garrett Gomez 8-5
6 Always Kitten Michael Maker Rosie Napravnik 20-1
7 Anahauc Bernard Flint Miguel Mena 20-1
8 Corporate Culture Chad Brown Julien Leparoux 10-1
9 Martha’s Moon John Servis Joe Bravo 10-1
10 Broken Spell D. Wayne Lukas Jon Court 8-1
11 Silsita Todd Pletcher John Velazquez 6-1
12 Awesome Mama Shannon Ritter Norberto Arroyo Jr. 10-1
The 1 1/8-mile Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes offers 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the winner, 20 to the runner-up, 10 to third place, and five to fourth place. The one-mile Fathead Bourbonette Oaks, a points race for the Kentucky Oaks, offers the same points to its top four finishers.
The Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes is the 10th of 12 races on Saturday’s card. The Fathead Bourbonette Oaks goes off one race earlier.
No surprises have so far surfaced among probables for the $550,000 Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes (G3) at Turfway Park Saturday. The gate is expected to be full, with four horses still hoping to crack the top 12.
Casse Opts for Polytrack for Uncaptured’s Return
Tops among probables with two stakes wins and $510,837 in earnings, Uncaptured proved his heart in the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs Nov. 12 when he came back to win by a neck after being headed by Frac Daddy. That win followed a 5 1/2 length win in the Iroquois, also on the dirt at Churchill. In his five previous races, he had lost only once. Unfortunately his tremendous career momentum was halted by an abscess in his left forefoot that developed after the Kentucky Jockey Club win. When a second abscess turned up in his right forefoot, trainer Mark Casse knew his comeback would have to wait even longer.
“We hoped to have had a race by now,” said Casse. “I had him training at Palm Meadows (Training Center in Boyton Beach, Florida) on the dirt. The main track at Ocala is all-weather, so we moved him up there, so it would be easier on his feet. He’s been training on the synthetic for the last couple of months, so the Spiral seemed the best place to bring him back. He’s already won twice at Churchill on the dirt, so we know he likes it.”
Before finishing fifth in the Grey Stakes (G3) after a troubled trip, Uncaptured was undefeated in four starts on Woodbine’s Polytrack, including two restricted stakes. Despite that impressive record, Casse said, “I’m not so sure he’s as good on the synthetic as he is on dirt.”
Uncaptured will leave Ocala Wednesday and arrive at Turfway on Thursday morning. He’ll gallop over Turfway’s Polytrack on Friday.
Miguel Mena was aboard for the two dirt wins at Churchill and will be aboard Saturday. Mena was Turfway’s leading rider for the 2006 Holiday Meet with 42 wins, just four shy of the meet record set by Rafael Bejarano in 2003.
Capo Bastone Will Try to Boss His Spiral Rivals for Pletcher
With top earnings among non-stakes winners on the list, Capo Bastone is assured a spot in the gate. Last year, the colt quickly established himself as one of the top 2-year-olds on the West Coast while in the barn of John Sadler. He capped off his fine freshman campaign with a good third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile behind eventual champion Shanghai Bobby and He’s Had Enough.
Since transferred to the powerful stable of trainer Todd Pletcher, Capo Bastone began his 2013 season with a wide-trip, sloppy-track win in a first-level optional claiming/allowance event at Gulfstream Park Feb. 16. The final time for the 1 1/16-miles race (1:48) did not break any stopwatches, but Pletcher saw enough good things that he feels good about sending the son of Street Boss to Northern Kentucky for the Spiral.
“We felt like, on the face of it, it didn’t appear to be a fast race,” said Pletcher of the Gulfstream allowance score. “But considering that it was his first race off a layoff, that he was starting from a really difficult post, and that he got hung out about as wide as you can at Gulfstream, I thought he ran very well. It was also an off racetrack, which was a question we had going in. So we threw a couple of new things at him that day and he got the job done. We feel like he proved last year that he is a quality horse. He ran very well in California, and he’s been training well for the Spiral. We are optimistic that he’ll move forward.”
Pletcher will assess Capo Bastone’s Spiral performance before formulating a strategy for the horse’s next move.
“Depending on how he does Saturday, we’ll decide where and when he’ll run next,” said Pletcher. “He could go straight on to Churchill Downs, or he could make another start ahead of the Derby.”
Pletcher’s main man, John Velazquez will have the riding assignment on Capo Bastone, who will be saddled at Turfway by Pletcher assistant Ginny DePasquale. The Pletcher/Velazquez team may also be represented in the Fathead Bourbonette Oaks by Silsita, although Pletcher admitted, “It will close as to whether she gets in.”
Capo Bastone will ship directly from South Florida to Turfway Park on Thursday, with an afternoon arrival expected.
Two Surfaces Down, One to Go for Spiral Contender Black Onyx
Having already broken his maiden on dirt last November at Aqueduct, Black Onyx added a turf win with an impressive victory Feb. 23 at Gulfstream over a field that included fellow Spiral Stakes nominee Crop Report. The win left trainer Kelly Breen eager to try Turfway’s all-weather surface in the track’s signature event.
“The owner, Sam Herzberg, had always wanted to try him on grass,” said Breen. “Now he’s won on grass, he’s won on dirt, and we think that if he could win on the Poly, he might really stamp himself as an up-and-coming horse.”
Breen knows, however, that it will take a top effort to capture this year’s edition of the Spiral.
“I haven’t handicapped the race yet, but I’ve seen all the horses nominated, and it’s definitely going to be a salty race,” said Breen. “Anytime you give away that kind of money, you know it’s not going to be easy.”
The recent Gulfstream turf victory was Black Onyx’s first race after Sam Herzberg’s Sterling Racing transferred the Rock Hard Ten colt to Breen’s barn. Those who follow the New Jersey-based Breen know it is something of an anomaly to see one of his trainees owned by anyone other than his main clients, George and Lori Hall.
“This is the first horse I’ve trained for someone other than the Halls in about the last five or six years,” said Breen. “I’ve been friends with Sam since I won the Louisiana Derby in 2011 with Pants on Fire. He came into the winner’s circle with us, and we’ve been friends since then.”
Joe Bravo, who rode Black Onyx for the first time in the Gulfstream triumph, will be back aboard for the Spiral. Black Onyx, along with a number of other weekend stakes hopefuls, will ship from Palm Meadows in South Florida to Turfway Park by air on Thursday morning. The horses are expected to arrive at the Turfway stable area on Thursday afternoon.
Post positions for the Horseshoe Casino Spiral Stakes will be drawn Wednesday afternoon, March 20, at Cincinnati’s Horseshoe Casino.
REALLY UPTOWN WINS TRIPLE CROWN
in Virgin Islands
b.g. 2007 Swiss Yodeler – really Can, by Unreal Zeal
Tortola horse becomes first V.I. Triple Crown winner
By MAX UFBERG (Daily News Staff)
ST. THOMAS - By the time the third and final leg of the V.I. Triple Crown was set to start on Sunday, a heavy rain had started to drench Clinton E. Phipps Racetrack. While it certainly added to the dramatic atmosphere, the result of the race was one everybody saw coming – with Really Uptown finishing the 1-mile race in first place with a time of 1 minute and 41 seconds to become the first V.I. Triple Crown winner.
From the start, Tortola’s champion horse took a commanding lead. As the race progressed, the gap widened, with Really Uptown leading second-place finisher Sweet Sight by about 10 lengths. By the time Really Uptown was crossing the finish line, jockey Alberto Soto was casually waving to fans in the crowd, far enough ahead of the competition to merit cheerful showboating.
VALID VENTURE won a $5,000 claiming race at Mountaineer on Tuesday. The son of Tethra – Valeid’s Best Lay won by 8 3/4 lengths for owner Tony Mohutsky. Bernard and Karen McCormack bred the 8yo gelding.
ROMAN EMPIRE, owned by Colebrook farms, was pulled up and vanned off in an allowance race at Mountaineer on Tuesday. The 2 to 1 second favourite had been 2nd in a previous race on March 4.