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Woodbine: Excaper returns in Charlie Barley
By Ron Gierkink
ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Excaper, a game runner-up in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, returns from a layoff Saturday at Woodbine in the $100,000 Charlie Barley, a one-mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds.
Excaper was second to Maritimer in the Sovereign Award voting for Canadian champion 2-year-old. His campaign included a second to Finale in the Grade 3 Summer Stakes, and a fourth in the Grade 3 Grey Stakes on Polytrack.
In the Grade 1 BC Juvenile Turf at Churchill last November, Excaper nosed out Farraaj for second at 33-1 while finishing 2 1/4 lengths behind another European raider, Wrote.
Excaper has been sidelined since ending up third in the Dec. 18 Dania Beach Stakes at Gulfstream, when he wasn’t himself, according to trainer Ian Black.
“He got really hot and bothered that day, which was unlike him,” Black said. “Then, we gave him a little time off, and he started to lose some muscle tone. We did a blood test on him, and I guess he had EPM, so we treated him for that and gave him the time to get over it. We brought him back, and he’s trained really well.”
Equine protozoal myeloencephalitis, or EPM, is a neurologic disease often caused by a horse ingesting a parasite from contaminated feed or water.
Excaper is taking the blinkers off, and Black felt that he shouldn’t need a race to get back on track.
“He’s had enough training,” Black said. “He looks great. He has all kinds of muscle, and flesh on him.”
Trainer Mark Casse, who has won the Charlie Barley three times, entered recent maiden winner Dynamical.
Dynamical wasn’t badly beaten when sixth in his only grass appearance in his debut Dec. 29 at Gulfstream.
“It was quite a good race,” Casse said. “He got into a lot of trouble, and was really wide. He should have been second. The winner came back and won an allowance race.”
Dynamical made a wide bid for the lead before tiring late when second May 5 Churchill, and then graduated there in a mile and a sixteenth maiden special on the dirt May 28.
“He’s run against some nice horses,” Casse said. “Teeth of the Dog beat him a head.”
Teeth of the Dog won the Easy Goer on the Belmont Stakes undercard.
Arlington-based Hammers Terror, a son of Artie Schiller trained Mike Stidham, is in good form. He had a three-wide pace-pressing trip last time, when a close fourth in the one-mile James W. Murphy Stakes at Pimlico.
Jomelo beat a relatively weak group of older first-level allowance types in a seven-furlong turf sprint June 13.
Drago’s Best is trying the turf for the first time following a 20-length loss in the Plate Trial Stakes.
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