10/07/2011 11:01AM

Woodbine: Excaper ready to fire best shot in Grey Stakes

Michael Burns
Excaper (right) couldn't beat Finale in the Grade 3 Summer Stakes at Woodbine. But Excaper came into that race having missed the prep because of a virus, and he should be fitter for the Grey Stakes on Sunday.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Excaper will experiment around two turns Sunday at Woodbine in the $200,000 Grey Stakes, a Grade 3 event for 2-year-olds that has been won by the likes of Eclipse Award champion Macho Uno and Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird.

Excaper was a rare debut winner for trainer Ian Black when he won a six-furlong maiden special on the Polytrack by three lengths Aug. 7.

“He came to me from Ocala in very good order,” Black said. “He was only a couple of works away from being ready to run. From when we first got him, we knew he was the best 2-year-old that we had.”

Excaper was 15-1 when he tried the grass Sept. 17 in the Grade 3 Summer Stakes, but he outran his odds. He was pressed through slow fractions in the one-mile race, run around one turn, before giving way late to finish second, beaten three-quarters of a length by favored Finale.

Black said Excaper missed the allowance prep for the Summer because of a virus.

“I worked him on the turf looking to run in the prep, and he came out of it with a temperature and a cough, which was over fairly quickly,” said Black. “Theoretically, I was probably a work short going into the Summer.”

Black is cautiously optimistic that Excaper will handle the 1 1/16-mile distance of the Grey.

“The way he trains and the way he’s built, it shouldn’t be a problem,” Black said.

Trainer Mark Casse entered Lockout, Bluedacious, and Prospective, who was supplemented.

The promising maiden Lockout is coming off a second to Indian Evening under Luis Contreras in the seven-furlong Swynford Stakes.

“I think Lockout could possibly be a pretty good horse,” said Casse. “I don’t know what to think about him going long. He’s a push-button horse. He’s not going to go until you ask him to go. I thought his last race was a little better than it looked. He and [Indian Evening] were rallying head-and-head, and when Luis went inside, he had to check him for a second and lost some momentum.”

Bluedacious finished second in his second outing, which came Sept. 18 in a mile and 70-yard maiden special.

“He missed the break, and ran wide on both turns,” said Casse. “Nothing went right.”

Prospective has been idle since his second-out score under Patrick Husbands in a seven-furlong maiden special Aug. 27.

“He’s kind of a funny horse,” said Casse. “Patrick’s always said that he hasn’t really learned the game yet. I didn’t even nominate him, but when Luis worked him, he just loved him. That was what made us decide to run him. He’s going to have to step up, but he has been in his training. We thought his last couple breezes were really good.”

King of England, trained by Josie Carroll, defeated Bluedacious when he graduated second time out.