Uncaptured , Canada's 2012 Horse of the Year, was caught a bit short in his return to Woodbine May 5 when Pyrite Mountain swept past him to deep stretch to take the $115,690 Wando Stakes (VIDEO).
The 1 1/16-mile Wando on Polytrack is the start of Woodbine's series for 3-year-olds leading to the $1 million Queen's Plate July 7. Three scratches, however, reduced the field to four, with Uncaptured made the 2-5 favorite.
Trained by Mark Casse for owner John Oxley, Uncaptured was on the Triple Crown trail this spring with his second-place finish in the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Spiral Stakes (gr. III) March 23 at Turfway Park. But a 10th-place effort in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland April 13 returned Casse's focus to the Queen's Plate for the talented son of Lion Heart.
After showing speed early for Patrick Husbands, Uncaptured stalked pacesetter Midnight Aria in second before taking a short advantage approaching the quarter pole. He inched to a one-length edge over the stubborn Midnight Aria mid-stretch. But Pyrite Mountain, ridden by Luis Contreras surged home from last on the turn to pass the weakening Uncaptured in deep stretch.
Second choice Pyrite Mountain, trained by Mark Frostad for Awesome Again Racing Limited Partnership, drew off to win by 1 1/2 lengths in a time of 1:44.24. Uncaptured held second by a desperate nose over Midnight Aria and Jesse Campbell. Tesseron trailed.
Fractions were :23.94, :47.51, 1:12.14 and 1:37.61.
Pyrite Mountain, bred in Ontario by Sean Hall, is by Silent Name out of the Numerous mare Gold Lined. The bay colt broke his maiden in the Kingarvie Stakes in his second start Dec. 2. He was coming off a runner-up finish in a 1 1/16-mile first-level allowance April 13 at Keeneland, and now has two wins and two seconds in five starts with earnings of $175,674.
``He`s coming along nicely,`` said Frostad of Pyrite Mountain. ``He`s had a couple of good starts over the winter and he didn`t get the best of trips but got a lot out of them. It was a learning experience. He was ready today, ran very well. Luis managed very well on him (for the first time).``
The winner carried 121 pounds and paid $9.20 to win. There was no place or show wagering. The exacta was worth $14.30. Are You Kidding Me, Dynamic Sky, and Steel Dust Dancer were all steward scratches.
Uncaptured, who carried top weight of 124 pounds, won six of his seven starts at 2, including the 2012 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes (gr. II). Besides Horse of the Year, Uncaptured also was honored as Canada's top 2-year-old male. Casse and Oxley took Sovereign Awards in their respective categories as well.