02/05/2014 3:07PM

Gulfstream Park: Uncaptured, Neck 'n Neck look to upset Donn Handicap

Michael Burns
Uncaptured, shown winning the Prince of Wales Stakes last summer, will try for his first Grade 1 victory Sunday in the Donn Handicap.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Uncaptured and Neck ’n Neck will be among the outsiders going up against the likes of Will Take Charge, Revolutionary, Lea, and River Seven in the Donn Handicap, but trainers Mark Casse and Ian Wilkes are looking forward to giving their horses another opportunity to become Grade 1 winners here Sunday.

Neither Uncaptured nor Neck ’n Neck proved a match for Lea going a mile in the Grade 3 Hal’s Hope last month. Uncaptured, briefly on the Kentucky Derby trail last season, surpassed the $1 million mark in lifetime earnings during the fall and became a Grade 2 winner early in his career by capturing the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs in his 2-year-old finale.

The Donn will mark Uncaptured’s second try against Grade 1 competition. His first ended in a 10th-place finish in the 2013 Blue Grass Stakes.

“He doesn’t have a whole lot more to accomplish; he’s already won over $1 million and is a Grade 2 winner,” said Casse, who trains Uncaptured for owner John Oxley. “The only thing lacking on his résumé is a Grade 1 win. He’s been training well, so we figured nothing ventured, nothing gained, and there’s a whole lot of upswing for him if he can win this thing.”

Casse said the 1 1/8-mile distance of the Donn should benefit Uncaptured, who has run a mile in each of his last two starts.

“As he’s gotten older, he’s lost a little bit of his speed,” Casse said. “It’s a little harder for him to keep up early in races at a mile. I was surprised he was so far back in the Hal’s Hope, but he was wide and made a good move to finish” fourth.

Miguel Mena, Uncaptured’s regular rider throughout most of his career, will be in town to handle the assignment in the Donn.

[Donn Handicap: Get PPs, watch Sunday's card live]

Neck ’n Neck will be making his fourth start since returning from a long layoff due to a fractured sesamoid suffered when training up to the Grade 1 Clark during the fall of 2012. Neck ’n Neck, a three-time graded stakes winner, finished a neck in front of Uncaptured when third in the Hal’s Hope. His only two previous Grade 1 appearances came at age 3 in 2012, when he finished fifth in the Florida Derby and sixth in the Travers.

“I think this horse has needed some racing to get back in form,” Wilkes said. “Missing that year really hurt him. As long as he keeps moving forward, that’s all I can ask. I don’t think we’ve seen him at his peak yet, so it’s worth giving him a shot, and if he can get lucky and win a race like the Donn, it looks awful good on his résumé.”

A field of 10 is expected to enter the Donn, topped by Will Take Charge, who arrived from his winter home at Oaklawn Park on Tuesday and went to the track for the first time Wednesday. Bourbon Courage, Romansh, Joshua’s Comprise, and Viramundo also figure to run.

[Clocker Reports: Get Mike Welsch’s clocker reports from Gulfstream Park and Palm Meadows]

◗ As of Wednesday, only six horses were confirmed for Sunday’s Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap. Boisterous will go postward as the highweight under 119 pounds, with Amira’s Prince, Summer Front, Imagining, Nikki’s Sandcastle, and Lochte also expected to run. Charming Kitten, Speaking of Which, and Tetradrachm were listed as possible starters by stakes coordinator Kevin Meyocks.

hdinky316 More than 1 year ago
Bourbon Courage is training great at Palm Meadows. He draws Jose Lezcano which is a big plus.I am against Will Take Charge because of the speed favoring track.
edb More than 1 year ago
Interesting race. WTC is obvious choice, but a question of him being ready after his vacation. Old school horse who likes to run. Thinking about a backwheel and hope for a bomb on top. As for Uncaptured, very disappointing last year and now he has lost some of his speed? Not a big boost of confidence from Casse. Hope Revolutionary runs well, we need some new blood.
JeanK More than 1 year ago
The Donn = Romansh.... my exacta RomanshXRevolutionary; betting WTC does not make sense... coming out of a harrowing 3 year old season, and Lukas proclaiming a championship is earned in the fall, tells me he is using this race and the next few races to get him ready for the breeders cup classic.... in November ? Personally I would have retired the horse.... if he is asked for top effort again so soon he will break down.. As for Uncaptured and Neck n Neck bet them please I'll take your money. See you at the Windows!!!!
jaybern1 More than 1 year ago
Early favorite for the Eclipse Award for Dumbest Post of the Year.
JeanK More than 1 year ago
glad u liked it J
David Sias More than 1 year ago
David Sias More than 1 year ago
What the heck are you talking about? This is a pretty wacky post, right down to you would have retired the horse. All we horseplayers and fans want to see is these types of horses NOT be retired! And break down? From what?!?
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
This is going to be a very nice horse race..............................
Daniel Alvarado More than 1 year ago
I wonder when the fact that WTC hasn't had a significant break since...ever, will catch up to him. Sunday might be that day. I'm hoping Revolutionary gets it done...love that horse!
Randy Baker More than 1 year ago
D. Wayne never was one to pamper his horses back in the day.Why start now ?
JeanK More than 1 year ago
because it is February
James Mcrae More than 1 year ago
not sure about uncaptured dont really think hes up for this three other faster horses at least in here what do you think mr keyes
fuggedabodit More than 1 year ago
Revolutionary! He's got a conditioning race under his belt, and with four pounds less than WTC, he should prevail.
Billy Spathanas More than 1 year ago
Mark More than 1 year ago
Love WTC Revolutionary wins this. Neck n Neck WTC Romansh are the underneath horses . IMO.
Daniel Alvarado More than 1 year ago
Love the fact that Revolutionary's already run and won over this track just last month. Should fire a big one this Sunday.
Mark More than 1 year ago
Agree . First work back after win said lot IMO. Win star/ pletcher sitting on a nice year with this one . Along with a couple $ year olds . Hope to see these two along with mmm wise Dan palace malice all meet up in the Whitney
Eric Singer More than 1 year ago
It's not that long a layoff and the horse deserved a blow. The bottom line is that a mile and an eighth is long enough - if WTC is close to his recent self - he wins. He lost the Classic by a nose and came back and won the Clark. He has a very large class advantage over this suspect crew. Yes, he could certainly lose to a horse with more positional speed and my gut says he shines at a short number.
Shawn Britton More than 1 year ago
I think 2 horse race. WTC or bourbon courage