12/05/2012 3:18PM

Gulfstream Park: Sky Captain working impressively

Churchill Downs/Reed Palmer Photography
Uncaptured, winner of the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes, is targeting the Sam F. Davis and Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs.

Early this summer, trainer Mark Casse felt Sky Captain would be the No. 1 2-year-old prospect in his barn, especially after the son of Sky Mesa won his maiden by 10 lengths on July 1 at Churchill Downs. But Sky Captain was forced to the sidelines due to a wrenched ankle suffered while training up to the Hopeful at Saratoga and suddenly had to take a backseat in the 2-year-old pecking order in Casse’s barn behind Uncaptured, who was nothing sort of sensational during his juvenile campaign.

Sky Captain had been working lights out at the Ocala Training Center over the past several weeks in preparation for his imminent return before shipping here to breeze an easy, but impressive, five furlongs in 1:00.89 with jockey John Velazquez aboard Wednesday.

“He was our number one 2-year-old, broke his maiden very impressively, but then he got hurt,” Casse said. “I worked him at Ocala a couple of times last month, and he went six furlongs in eleven and change and a mile in 1:40. I’ve never seen anything like it. He’s been training so well he got Johnny out special to work him and me to drive all the way down from Ocala just to watch this morning. And I was extremely pleased with what I saw.”

Casse said he hopes to bring Sky Captain back in an allowance race before the end of the month.

As for Uncaptured, Casse said his five-time stakes winner is currently getting a well-deserved break at Palm Meadows after closing out his 2-year-old season with victories in the Grade 3 Iroquois and Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs.

“Right now, the plan is to keep Sky Captain and Uncaptured apart for the winter,” Casse said. “We’ll probably point Uncaptured for the Sam Davis and Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa, and if all goes well, we hope to be able to run Sky Captain in some of the Derby preps right here.”

Casse, who has taken eight stalls at Gulfstream for the first time this winter along with his usual allotment at Palm Meadows, said he also is looking forward to running Delegation in next week’s Harlan’s Holiday. Delegation is coming off a third-place finish behind Tapizar in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.