Uncaptured overcame some traffic problems to register a convincing 5 1/2-length win in the $114,800 Iroquois Stakes (gr. III) (VIDEO) Oct. 28 at Churchill Downs for his fifth win in six tries this year.
Trained by Mark Casse for owner John C. Oxley, the winning son of Lion Heart was ridden to victory by Miguel Mena on opening day of the fall meet, going off at generous odds of 9-2. Uncaptured was making his first start on dirt after dominating the 2-year-old male ranks on Polytrack at Woodbine.
Uncaptured, bred in Ontario, Canada by William D. Graham, is out of the non-winning Arch mare Captivating. The dark bay or brown colt recorded victories in the Swynford, Vandal, and Clarendon at Woodbine prior to finishing fifth as the 2-5 favorite in the Grey (gr. III) in his previous race after experiencing trouble.
Casse said there is a good possibility Uncaptured will make his next start in the $150,000 Kentucky Jockey Club (gr. II) at Churchill Downs Nov. 24. The Kentucky Jockey Club is part of the "Kentucky Derby Prep Season" and the top four finishers will earn points toward a possible start in the kentukcy Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) next May.
"He had been very powerful before this and that's why I wanted to bring him here and run him on the dirt," Casse said. "If it didn't work well then I was going to send him home for a break, but I think we got the answer today."
Racing mid-pack in the Iroquois, Uncaptured was steadied in traffic on the turn and then guided to the outside by a patient Mena for the drive. He surged to the lead over Positively mid-stretch and drew away sharply in the final furlong under steady urging. The final time for the one-turn mile was a slow 1:37.63 over a main track rated fast.
"I had a good trip and he's a very nice horse," said Mena after riding Uncaptured for the first time. "I had just a ton of horse and he just galloped. He's very good."
Positively, ridden by Calvin Borel, took a narrow advantage over Heaven's Runway at the quarter pole and held second by 2 1/2 lengths over 9-5 favorite Overanalyze and Julien Leparoux.
Road Agent, an 80-1 shot, set the early pace, stepping the opening quarter in :22.88 and the half in :46.24, before backing out quickly.
Uncaptured was ridden in his prior starts by Patrick Husbands. He graduated at first asking May 13 before going on a three-stakes win streak at Woodbine when favored each time. His failure in the 1 1/16-mile Grey came after he was shuffled back and checked in his only try around two turns so far.
Uncaptured's first victory outside of Canada was worth $67,617 and boosted his career bankroll to $406,845.
Overanalyze, impressive winner of the Futurity (gr. II) at Belmont Park Sept. 30, was shipped from New York for the Iroquois due to owner Mike Repole's boycott of this year's Breeders' Cup because of its ban on the diuretic Lasix in juvenile races. Overanalyze and the other nine horses in the Iroquois field raced with Lasix.
Sent off as the fourth choice, Uncaptured was a supplementary nomination to the Iroquois and paid $11.40, $4.60, and $3.60 while keying a $46.80 exacta. second choice Positively, runner-up in Churchill's Bashford Manor (gr. III) in June, returned $4 and $3. Overanalzye paid $3 to show.
Strike the Note was fourth, followed by Pataky Kid , Five Iron, Heaven's Runaway, Triple Cross, Agave Cat, and Road Agent.