Updated on 10/08/2012 5:24PM

Woodbine notes: River Seven eyes Coronation Futurity after Grey upset

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Michael Burns
River Seven wins the Grey Stakes by three-quarters of a length on Sunday at Woodbine.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – River Seven was a maiden coming into last Sunday’s $224,800 Grey Stakes, in which the undefeated Uncaptured was a heavy favorite. But when the dust cleared following the running of the Grey and a claim of foul by Uncaptured’s rider, Patrick Husbands, it was River Seven in the winner’s circle and the favorite ending 4 1/4 lengths back in fifth.

River Seven, an Ontario-foaled gelding, turned the tables on the Kentucky-bred Tesseron, who had left him a half-length back in second place in a mile and 70-yard maiden race here Sept. 3.

“He had an unfortunate trip going two turns,” said River Seven’s trainer, Nick Gonzalez, who previously had watched River Seven finish third and then second behind Uncaptured in sprint stakes here. “But the horse kept getting better and better and the weather cooled down; he liked that more.”

Eurico Rosa da Silva, who took over aboard River Seven for the Grey, had been in the irons for a five-furlong breeze eight days earlier.

“Eurico said he wanted to keep him in the race early,” said Gonzalez, who trains River Seven for the Tucci Stable of Carlo and Lou Tucci. “He was confident that the horse had the stamina and would keep going.”

Da Silva executed that plan to perfection, pressing the pace of Five Iron from second place before coming on for the three-quarter-length win over a game Tesseron.

Gonzalez credited the Tuccis with backing his plan to run River Seven in the Grey rather than awaiting the $250,000 Cup and Saucer, a 1 1/16-mile turf race for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds here Oct. 20.

“This was better timing from his last race to the Coronation Futurity,” said Gonzalez, with reference to the $250,000 stakes for Canadian-bred 2-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles on Polytrack here Nov. 10. “That will be his last race of the season. He was in a 2-year-old in training sale in March, and he was training three months before that.”

Uncaptured heading to Churchill

Mark Casse, who trains Uncaptured, said the colt came out of the Grey none the worse for wear.

“I was disappointed,” said Casse, who trains the Ontario-bred Uncaptured for John Oxley. “I don’t really know what to make of it. Patrick said he seemed more concerned with everything around him than with running. Sunday was the first time he’s really been put in some tight spots. That horse came over on him, and Patrick had to check him. But having said that, if he’d run like he had before, he’d never have been in that spot.”

Casse’s plan calls for Uncaptured to relocate to Churchill Downs.

“We’ll see how he trains over the dirt there, and if he does well, we may look at the Kentucky Jockey Club.”

The Grade 2, $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club is a 1 1/16-mile race Nov. 24.

While Uncaptured’s dreams of the Breeders’ Cup would appear to have come to an end, Casse still has four candidates for the Nov. 2-3 extravaganza at Santa Anita, with Spring Venture, Spring in the Air, Dynamic Sky, and Pool Play all slated to make the journey west. All except Spring Venture are Ontario-breds.

Spring Venture earned a fees-paid berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf for her victory here in the Grade 2 Natalma, and she will proceed to that event after notching her third win in as many starts here in last Saturday’s Grade 3 Mazarine at 1 1/16 miles on the main track.

“I only decided at about 3 p.m. on Saturday to run her,” said Casse, who trains the Kentucky-bred Spring Venture for owners Gary Barber and Jim Stone. “She had a little temperature in the morning, but I pulled a blood on her and it was fine. I wanted to make sure it didn’t spike. If it had, I would have scratched her.”

Spring Venture made it through the Mazarine, scoring by 1 1/2 lengths under Husbands.

“Last night, her temperature rose, but it was normal the next morning,” Casse said. “She’d been a little more stressed after the race than I thought she should be. I didn’t think she handled the going as well as she did the turf, but I’ve seen her handle the Polytrack very well in the morning.”

Spring in the Air earned a trip to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies with a victory in the Grade 1 Alcibiades over 1 1/16 miles of Keeneland’s Polytrack last Friday.

“She’s going to the dirt as long as she trains well at Churchill Downs,” Casse said.

Dynamic Sky ended second in last Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland and should be heading for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

And Pool Play could make his next appearance in either the Breeders’ Cup Marathon or Breeders’ Cup Classic after capturing the Grade 2 Hawthorne Cup at 1 1/4 miles last Saturday.

Nancy O struggles in Frizette

Nancy O, based here with trainer Carolyn Costigan, finished a distant last of four when trying dirt for the first time under regular rider David Moran in last Saturday’s Grade 1 Frizette at Belmont.

“She just didn’t handle the going,” Costigan said. “David only made use of her for three or four furlongs. He made sure he had a horse to bring back to Canada. We’re just going to throw that race out. It was a trial run for shipping.”

Nancy O came into the Frizette as a maiden after three starts, but had finished a good third in the Natalma behind Spring Venture and Spring in the Air.

“The Natalma form is rock-solid,” Costigan said. “We’re going back to the grass. We’re still very much looking at the Breeders’ Cup.”

Are You Kidding Me gets break

Are You Kidding Me, who ended second here in the Summer Stakes over one mile of turf after defeating Nancy O in the seven-furlong allowance prep, was beaten just 2 1/2 lengths as a troubled fifth in Keeneland’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity last Saturday.

“We’ll turn him out now for a month or six weeks, and then he’ll come down to me in Florida,” trainer Roger Attfield said. “He wasn’t going to the Breeders’ Cup, anyway. He’s a growing colt.”

Lateegra wins Carotene after layoff

Lateegra faltered to finish seventh when making her second start in a week and facing the boys in the Breeders’ Stakes at 1 1/2 miles on the grass here Aug. 5.

Last Saturday, returning from a two-month layoff and back with her own gender, Lateegra rebounded to become a stakes winner under regular rider Slade Callaghan in the $150,000 Carotene for Ontario-foaled fillies at 1 1/8 miles on the turf course.

“We gave her a couple of weeks after her last race,” said Michael Doyle, who trains Lateegra for the Eaton Hall Farm of Thor Eaton. “She did a little jogging, playing – she put on some weight. I really was expecting a good effort.”

Doyle watched Lateegra finish a close second in the Wonder Where, a 1 1/4-mile turf race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies, prior to the Breeders’.

“She always looked like she’d be better on the turf,” Doyle said. “She’s made for turf, and her pedigree says long, turf.”

The River Memories, an overnight turf stakes at one mile here Oct. 27, could be a target for Lateegra, but Doyle also could be looking for a spot at Churchill Downs.

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the Hawthorne Gold Cup was run at 1 1/8 miles. It was run at 1 1/4 miles.