Undefeated in four starts at Woodbine this year including three stakes scores, Uncaptured is a clear standout against six juvenile opponents for the $200,000 Grey Stakes (Can-III) at the Toronto track Oct. 7.
The Grey, at 1 1/16 miles on Polytrack, is set as the eighth race on Sunday's program with a 4:42 p.m. EDT scheduled post.
The dark bay Lion Heart colt was recently made the 30-1 future book favorite for the 2013 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) by the Wynn casino in Las Vegas.
Trained by Mark Casse for owner John C. Oxley, Uncaptured was bred in Ontario by William D. Graham. Consigned by Four Star Sales, agent, Uncaptured was purchased by Casse for $290,000 from the 2011 Keeneland September yearling sale. Out of the Arch mare Captivating, Uncaptured is a half sibling to dual Canadian stakes winner Dancing Raven (by Tomahawk), who has earned $396,338.
After wins in the Clarendon, Vandal, and Swynford stakes since his maiden-breaking debut in May, Uncaptured will be making his first start around two turns. Casse knows what he'd like to see from the colt.
"A win," he laughed. "You always hope that a horse can do something, but the truth is until you see it, you just don't know if they can for sure. I'd be shocked if he couldn't go two turns just by the way he runs, the way he moves. I think he'll thrive from it."
Should Uncaptured pass his two-turn test in the Grey, Casse will consider starting him in the $2 million Grey Goose Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) Nov. 3 at Santa Anita Park.
"It's something Mr. Oxley and I would discuss after the race and go from there," said Casse.
Patrick Husbands, Woodinbe's leading rider this year and Uncaptured's regular pilot, has the mount. they break from post 3 with top weight of 122 pounds, from five to seven more than each of his opponents.
In his most recent effort, Uncaptured was sent to post as the 1-5 favorite in the seven-furlong Swynford. After closing seven paths wide, he romped by 3 1/4 lengths under a hand ride.
"I was very happy with his Swynford performance," said Casse. "To me, what's remarkable about him is that he can run at a fairly high rate of speed and then quicken. He'll be running along and you see Patrick move his hands and he will quicken. He does that in the morning and he's done it in the afternoon."
The Grey is now a key event for horses pointing to the 2013 Kentucky Derby. Churchill Downs recently adopted a system that awards the 20 starting berths in the Kentucky Derby to horses that have earned points as the top four finishers in 36 stakes leading up to the race.
Looking to pick up some key points in the Grey is the Brian Lynch trainee Five Iron.
"I really think he'll enjoy two turns," said Lynch, of the Sharp Humor colt. "It's what he wants to do. Last time, in the Swynford (second to Uncaptured), he competed to the end simply because of his natural ability. Now, we get the acid test.
"We've hooked a really good one in here," continued Lynch. "But I like what he (Five Iron) has done so far. He won his first start impressively. In the Swynford, he would have had an easy excuse to pack it in, but he didn't. He's a great colt."
Casse, far in front in the Woodbine trainer standings this season, has won the past two editions of the Grey with Blue Laser in 2010 and Prospective last year.
He sends out two others: Indiano Jones and Star Contender, both for Oxley.
Indiano Jones is a son of A.P. Indy out of the multiple graded stakes-winning mare Sharp Susan, by Touch Gold. Indiano Jones ran third in his stakes debut, the grade II Summer, on yielding turf at Woodbine Sept. 12. Star Contender, by Henny Hughes , ran third in his only start Sept. 3 going 6 1/2 furlongs.
$200,000 Grey Stakes (Can-III, Race 8, 4:42 p.m.), 2YOs, 1 1/16 Miles (All Weather)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Mercenary (KY), O Moreno, 115, D Cotey
2. Star Contender (ON), P Husbands, 115, M E Casse
3. Uncaptured (ON), P Husbands, 122, M E Casse
4. River Seven (ON), E R Da Silva, 115, N Gonzalez
5. Five Iron (KY), A O Solis, 115, B A Lynch
6. Indiano Jones (KY), L Contreras, 115, M E Casse
7. Tesseron (KY), J Stein, 117, J Carroll