Uncaptured will put his unbeaten record on the line against six rivals in Sunday's Grade 3, $200,000 Grey Stakes at Woodbine. An impressive 3 1/4-length winner of the September 9 Swynford Stakes in his last outing, the Mark Casse trainee will make his first start at two turns as he preps for a possible start in the November 3 Breeders' Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita.
"He was one of the best-looking yearlings I've ever seen," Casse asserted. "I've been buying horses now for over 30 years and there are certain things I look for and he had every one of them. I like a good neck and shoulder. On a scale of one to 10, he has a 10 neck and shoulder, a really nice hind leg and he has some stretch to him.
"We're always looking at horses we think can get a mile-and-a-quarter for the Queen's Plate or Kentucky Derby and we thought he fit. He was the entire package from looks to pedigree."
A nose debut winner going 4 1/2 furlongs on May 13, Uncaptured rolled to a 5 1/2-length victory when making his stakes bow in the 5 1/2-furlong Clarendon on June 30. He followed it with an easy one-length tally in the six-furlong Clarendon Stakes on July 28 and stretched out to seven furlongs in the Swynford.
The Ontario-bred colt, who figures to be a prohibitive betting favorite in the 1 1/16-mile Grey on Polytrack, holds the distinction of being the early future book favorite for next year's Kentucky Derby.
"It's nice to be the future book favorite; now we just have to make it to the Derby and be the favorite," Casse said. "There's a lot of sweating before then. It's an honor and it's a first. I'm happy and I'm proud. Who would have thought a Canadian horse would be the future book favorite for the Derby? The Grey, with the new point system, has meaning to it because it comes with Derby points. It's a big deal and it's important to us.
"He's been very impressive so far. Distance isn't going to be a problem," the conditioner added. "There will come a day when he has to dig deep and show us what he's made of. I just hope that day doesn't come for awhile. (Dirt) doesn't concern me. He's a beautiful moving horse. He has a wonderful stride and I've said all along horses that like Polytrack like Churchill Downs. He'll have his transition to dirt down at Palm Meadows (this winter). Hopefully, he stays happy and healthy."
Regular rider Patrick Husbands will be up on the dark bay son of Lion Heart.
Swynford Stakes runner-up Five Iron will also return for the Grey. A sharp four-length debut winner two back, the Brian Lynch-trained colt showed speed in both career starts and should be forwardly-placed on Sunday with Alex Solis.
Casse is responsible for three of the entrants. Indiano Jones exits a respectable third in the Grade 2 Summer Stakes on turf and Star Contender will step up in class off a nice maiden score over the Polytrack.
Josie Carroll will send out a promising prospect in Tesseron, who rallied to a good-looking maiden win in his September 3 career debut. River Seven is still a maiden, but he's placed in two previous stakes attempts. Mercenary, who exits a sixth in the Summer, rounds out the field.