Excaper Proves Best in Tight Connaught Cup
Photo: Michael Burns
Excaper fights for the win in the Connaught Cup Stakes.
Seven times stakes-placed Excaper denied Something Extra a third straight Connaught Cup Stakes (Can-IIT) victory May 31 at Woodbine, earning his stakes breakthrough by a hard-fought half-length on the turf (VIDEO).
The big, strong son of Exchange Rate tracked pacesetter Something Extra about a length back in second through torrid early fractions of :22.23 and :44.62, took closer order on the turn and challenged entering the stretch before thrusting his head in front. 
The pair matched strides through the lane, with a determined Something Extra gamely battling back for Eurico Rosa Da Silva but ultimately failing to get the win in a thrilling finish to the $185,138 event. 
Excaper, with Justin Stein at the reins, was timed in 1:19.53 to win seven-furlong race on firm turf as the 11-2 third choice.
Something Extra, the 3-1 second pick trying to go gate to wire, outfinished fast-closing Laugh Track by a head for second in the nine-horse field. Dimension, the 2-1 favorite, bobbled leaving the gate and raced in third early, but faded through the stretch to finish last. 
Trained by Ian Black for owners Richard S. Kaster and Frederick C. Wieting, Excaper came into the Connaught Cup after a convincing 3 3/4-length win in a one-mile grass allowance April 13 at Keeneland, defeating the well-regarded pair of Winning Cause and Utley. He had been knocking on the door of a stakes win since 2011 when second in his stakes bow in the Summer Stakes (Can-IIIT) in September at Woodbine after winning his debut. He was second again two starts later in Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT) in November at Churchill Downs.
The Connaught Cup triumph took his career line to 5-6-1 from 17 starts. 
Excaper, who is out of the Bold Ruckus mare Ada Ruckus, paid $13.10, $6, and $3.80, while Something Extra returned $5 and $3.30. Laugh Track paid $4.70 to show. 
Completing the order of finish were Mr. Online, Run to the Bank, Seekingthediamond, River Seven, Occasional View, and Dimension. 
Excaper, whose second dam is Canadian champion filly Ada Prospect, was bred in Kentucky by Richard  and Nancy Kaster. The 5-year-old is a half brother to Quite a Ruckus, also a stakes winner at Woodbine.

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