08/31/2013 1:17PM

Parx Racing: Uncaptured must overcome post 10 in Smarty Jones

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Michael Burns
Uncaptured, winning the Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie, has to work out a good trip from the far outside with a short run to the first turn in the Smarty Jones.

Nothing has come easy this year for Uncaptured. The 2012 Horse of the Year in Canada lost four straight races to start his 3-year-old campaign, and after defeating Ontario-breds in the Prince of Wales Stakes, Uncaptured will be sternly tested again Monday as one of the logical favorites in the $350,000 Smarty Jones Stakes at Parx Racing in suburban Philadelphia.

Uncaptured was assigned the far outside post in a field of 10 3-year-olds entered in the Grade 3 Smarty Jones, the local prep for the Grade 2, $1 million Pennsylvania Derby on Sept. 21. The $1 million Cotillion for 3-year-old fillies also will be run that day.

The Smarty Jones is run at what trainer Mark Casse called “a tricky distance” of a mile and 70 yards on the main track.

[PARX RACING: Get PPs, watch Monday’s card live]

“I don’t know the stats on outside posts there, but if it’s like anywhere else, it could be problematic,” said Casse, who trains Uncaptured for John Oxley. “There’s not much run into that first turn.”

For the record, horses breaking from post 10 going a mile and 70 yards at Parx are 1 for 15 this year.

It will be up to jockey Miguel Mena to work out the kind of trip that would start getting Uncaptured back to the kind of prominence he enjoyed within the North American 3-year-old ranks earlier in the year. After going 6 for 7 in becoming the first 2-year-old Canadian Horse of the Year in more than a quarter-century, Uncaptured mostly struggled while failing to earn his way into the Triple Crown series.

“We had Derby fever and kind of rushed him along and told him what we wanted him to do,” said Casse, who will be in from Florida for the race. “That seldom works very well. Now, though, it seems like he’s really settling into pretty good form.”

A fairly eclectic cast comprises the opposition, most of whom have been racing or training at Saratoga and are seeking by far the richest victory of their respective careers.

That group includes the stable coupling of Edge of Reality (post 2, Stewart Elliott) and Snake Pit (post 8, Kendrick Carmouche); the uncoupled Todd Pletcher duo of Battier (post 1, Angel Castillo) and Micromanage (post 5, Joe Bravo); Bellarmine (post 6, Alan Garcia), trained by Ken McPeek; Betweenhereandcool (post 7, Ricardo Santana Jr), trained by Steve Asmussen; and Norumbega (post 9, Cornelio Velasquez), trained by Shug McGaughey.

Completing the field are Speak Logistics (post 3, Roberto Alvarado Jr.) and English Manor (post 4, Rosario Montanez).

The Smarty Jones, named for the 2004 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner who was ridden by Elliott and was especially popular in the Philadelphia area, anchors a terrific 12-race card at slots-rich Parx, where first post Monday is 12:25 p.m. Eastern. The Smarty Jones, the 11th, is set for 5:18.

The Monday program also includes three other stakes and some very well-endowed undercard races, such as a pair of $75,000 allowances and a $69,000 maiden race.

The weather forecast for Monday calls for a 50 percent chance of showers.