09/14/2011 3:25PM

Woodbine: Excaper tries turf in Summer Stakes


Saturday’s card at Woodbine features a pair of one-mile turf races for 2-year-olds which are part of the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In challenge series.

Both the $250,000 Summer and the $200,000 Natalma, which is for 2-year-old fillies, offer Grade 3 status and attracted fields of eight and 13, respectively.

Last year, trainer Todd Pletcher sent out Pluck to win the Summer and More Than Real to run second in the Natalma and watched both come back to capture their respective turf events on the Friday Breeders’ Cup card at Churchill Downs.

Pletcher will be represented in both races again this year, with Finale in the Summer and St Pancras in the Natalma, but will be up against some solid competition from both fellow shippers and locally based candidates.

Excaper, a Kentucky-bred who is trained by Ian Black, is among those on the home team for the Summer and will be seeking his second win in as many starts after scoring impressively over six furlongs of Polytrack in his Aug. 7 debut.

“He was in great order when he came up to me from Ocala, and he’d trained like he was a nice horse from the word ‘go,' ” said Black, who conditions Excaper for Nancy and Richard Kastner. “For me to win with a 2-year-old first time out, you’d have to be pretty special.”

Excaper has turned in three quick workouts in the interim with two of those being five-furlong moves in 59.40 seconds over the turf training course.

All of which leads Black to be cautiously optimistic when Excaper ventures out on a new surface and longer journey in the Summer.

“He worked so well on turf, and in his works he’s galloped out like the distance won’t be a problem,” said Black.

Emma-Jayne Wilson retains the mount on Excaper.

Ten K Cat seems to like longer distances

Ten K Cat will be looking to give trainer Brian Lynch his second win in the Natalma after Bay to Bay captured the 2009 running.

A Kentucky homebred who races for Terra di Sienna Stable, Ten K Cat showed gradual improvement through her first three starts on Polytrack, and then came from off the pace to graduate over seven furlongs of turf.

“She had a bit of speed, but she didn’t want to sprint short distances early,” said Lynch. “It took a bit of time for us to let her figure out what she wanted to do.”

What that would seem to be, at this stage, would be to run longer on turf but Lynch is not convinced that Ten K Cat will be any less effective on Polytrack.

“She worked as good on Poly as she did on turf,” said Lynch. “We just had something in mind, to get her towards this race.”

Quincy Welch, aboard when Bay to Bay worked five furlongs on the turf training course in 59.60 last Sunday, retains the mount.