02/01/2013 4:27PM

Gulfstream Park: Kentucky Derby prospect Uncaptured likely to make first start of 2013 in March

Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
Uncaptured, hampered by foot problems, has yet to begin serious training for his 3-year-old campaign.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. –Trainer Mark Casse is loaded with 3-year-old prospects this winter although the most highly regarded of the group, Uncaptured, still remains at least a month away from making his 2013 debut.

Uncaptured, a son of Lion Heart owned by John Oxley, won 5 of 6 starts at 2, including both the Grade 3 Iroquois and Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs. The lone blemish on his record came in his two-turn debut over the Polytrack at Woodbine, where he finished fifth after an unlucky trip.

But Uncaptured remains on the farm in Ocala and has yet to breeze since sustaining a couple of setbacks following his neck victory over Frac Daddy in the Kentucky Jockey Club.

“He bruised a foot coming out of the Jockey Club, got back going, then popped an abscess in his other foot, which backed us up a couple of more weeks,” said Casse. “He’s scheduled to begin breezing on the farm next week and if all goes well, the plan is to have him ready to run the second or third week of March.”

[ROAD TO THE KENTUCKY DERBY: Prep races, point standings, replays]

Casse said he will use either the Grade 1 Blue Grass at Keeneland or perhaps even the Spiral or Rushaway at Turfway Park for Uncaptured’s final Kentucky Derby prep.

“He’s already got his experience at Churchill Downs over conventional dirt so we don’t have to worry about that,” said Casse. “I just want to get him to the Derby happy and healthy. This isn’t the ideal way to go but unfortunately we have to play the cards that have been dealt us.”

Casse also remained upbeat about another of his 3-year-old prospects, Sky Captain, who finished second behind Cerro in the faster division of a nine-furlong entry level allowance race here at Gulfstream Prk last weekend.

The effort was a big improvement over Sky Captain’s 2-year-old finale here six weeks earlier when he finished a well-beaten fifth as the even-money favorite in a 6 1/2-furlong allowance dash. Casse said he believed Sky Captain was the best 2-year-old prospect in his barn after winning a maiden race by 10 lengths at Churchill Downs in July only to have him go to the sidelines due to a wrenched ankle sustained while training up to the Hopeful.

Beau Choix comes up the hedge

Beau Choix benefited from a perfect ride by Luis Saez to beat a stakes-caliber field in Friday’s allowance feature. Saving ground throughout, Saez slipped Beau Choix inside pacesetter Decisive Moment at the head of the stretch and then outfinished both the leader and 9-5 favorite Upgrade to post his seventh career victory for trainer Barclay Tagg.

“He had a great trip,” said Tagg. “I didn’t think the inside was going to ope. It looked like he was blocked, but I told the kid if the inside opens at all he’ll go up the inside. There wasn’t any room but the horse is a big horse and he pushed his way through. We needed a little luck. This wasn’t an easy field. I figured he could win it if things went right for him. He’s a tough old warrior.”

Decisive Moment turned in a game effort in defeat while making just his second start on turf and first since finishing sixth after forcing the pace in the Grade 3 Appleton here last spring.

Bourbon Courage preps for Donn

Bourbon Courage, idle since his third-place finish in the Grade 1 Clark Handicap on Nov. 23, has arrived on the grounds to begin preparations for next week’s Grade 1 Donn Handicap.

Bourbon Courage, who has been stabled at Fair Grounds this winter with trainer Kellyn Gorder, is scheduled to have his only local work on Sunday.

Leading rider Javier Castellano has taken the call aboard Bourbon Courage in the Donn.

Unbridled Command breezes

Unbridled Command, among the key players in next Saturday’s Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap, topped area work tabs on Friday after going an easy five furlongs in 1:06.02 around the dogs at Palm Meadows.

Unbridled Command, a winner of each of his last five starts, including the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby for trainer Tom Bush, is expected to face a field that will include 2011 Kentucky Derby winner Animal Kingdom and three-time Grade 1 winner Point of Entry in the 1 1/8-mile Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap.

The race will be sponsored for the first time by Ken and Sarah Ramsey and will now be known as the Kitten’s Joy Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap. The Ramseys are currently Gulfstream’s leading owners with 24 victories from 83 starters at the meet.

Other workers of note on Friday included Grace Hall, four furlongs in 47.55 seconds over the main track at Palm Meadows, and Nikki’s Sandcastle, an easy five-eighths in 1:02.03 at Gulfstream Park.