02/07/2011 3:21PM

McPeek sees benefit in Casper's Touch's loss

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HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. - One day after watching one of his top Kentucky Derby prospects, Casper’s Touch, suffer through a horrendous trip in his 3-year-old debut at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, trainer Ken McPeek was calm and composed discussing the unfortunate circumstances that led to the colt’s second-place finish as the even-money favorite in the nine-furlong, entry-level allowance event

With Julien Leparoux aboard, Casper’s Touch steadied back off the leader entering the clubhouse turn, raced very rankly while lacking racing room in the run down the backstretch, then was bumped soundly by Shadow Warrior near midstretch before finishing gamely to be second behind Shackleford.

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“It was a terrible trip – what are you going to do,” said McPeek. “The race was really a prep for the Fountain of Youth, and he did show how tough he is to come on and finish second when having every right to be fourth after getting hit as hard as he did in the stretch. Fortunately he came back without a nick on him and cleaned up his feed tub in an hour. The race was a stepping-stone, and even though we did not win, I was pleased with it.”

If all goes according to plan, Casper’s Touch will get a chance to avenge that setback, as trainer Dale Romans said Shackleford is also being pointed for the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth on Feb. 26.