07/26/2012 3:10PM

Woodbine: Uncaptured comes into Vandal off romp

Michael Burns
Uncaptured is the one to beat in Saturday's $150,000 Vandal.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario − Coming off a 5 1/2-length win in the Clarendon on June 30, Uncaptured looms as the one to beat in Saturday’s $150,000 Vandal Stakes at Woodbine.

A six-furlong race for Ontario-foaled 2-year-olds, the Vandal attracted a field of six, and Uncaptured is one of three from the barn of trainer Mark Casse, along with Calgary Cat and Dynamic Strike.

Uncaptured and Calgary Cat are owned by John Oxley. Casse said only one would start and that Calgary Cat is in more as a backup.

Uncaptured had been pegged as a prospect for Saratoga following his Clarendon romp but will stay at Woodbine for now.

“We’ve got a pretty strong gang at Saratoga, and if we didn’t run in the Vandal, his next race here wouldn’t be until the Swynford,” Casse said, referring to the open seven-furlong race that will be run Sept. 9.

In the meantime, Uncaptured will have to overcome the inside post as he looks to improve to 3 for 3.

“He breezed in a minute and change last week, and he looked like he was just galloping,” Casse said. “He looks like he could be a very special horse.”

Calgary Cat, who drew post 6, was fifth by 3 1/2 lengths in his debut in the six-furlong Colin here July 14 after breaking poorly and getting shut off early on the backstretch.

“He had enough trouble in his first start to make up for about five starts,” Casse said.

Patrick Husbands has been named on Uncaptured and Calgary Cat, and Luis Contreras has the call on Dynamic Sky. Casse said he likes Dynamic Sky but that the colt is “probably not up to the caliber of these right now.”

“He’s eligible for the yearling sales stakes, and it’s important that he gets a race before that,” Casse said.

The Simcoe, a 6 1/2-furlong race for 2-year-old colts and geldings, will be one of six yearling sales stakes here Sept. 3 and offers a purse of $200,000.

River Seven was beaten nine lengths by Uncaptured in his debut in the Clarendon and should give a better accounting of himself this time around.

“He won’t be spotting them as many lengths as he did last time,” said Martha Gonzalez, wife and assistant to Nick Gonzalez, who trains River Seven. “He had the 1-hole, and just kind of stood there. He kind of fell asleep in there. But he made up quite a lot of ground, and it was very educational for him. He learned he can’t have everything his own way.”

Emma-Jayne Wilson retains the mount on River Seven, who drew post 5 for the Vandal.

Completing the field are Weather Bill, winner of a restricted 5 1/2-furlong maiden race in his July 15 debut, and Towncat, who dropped to the $32,000 claiming level in his second start and won by a length at five furlongs.

Breeders’ Stakes draws 15

Fifteen horses have been nominated to the $500,000 Breeders’ Stakes, the final leg of the Triple Crown for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds. The race will be run here Aug. 5.

Strait of Dover, winner of the 1 1/4-mile Queen’s Plate here June 24, passed on the second leg of the Triple Crown, the July 15 Prince of Wales on Fort Erie’s dirt surface, to point for the Breeders’.

Dixie Strike, the filly who won the Prince of Wales, is nominated to the Breeders’ but is heading for Saratoga’s Alabama.

Ultimate Destiny and Quaesitor, the second- and fourth-place finishers in the Prince of Wales, are Breeders’ candidates along with Irish Mission.

Winner of the 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks on June 3 and second in the Queen’s Plate, Irish Mission finished sixth in the Prince of Wales but is proven on turf.

Aldous Snow, who also has shown a fondness for the grass, has been aiming for the Breeders’ since winning a first-level allowance race over 1 1/16 miles of turf on Queen’s Plate Day.

Jenna’s Wabbit handles weight

Jenna’s Wabbit made light of his 128-pound impost here Wednesday evening, leading throughout the seven-furlong Deputy Minister to score by 1 3/4 lengths over five other Ontario-sired 3-year-olds.

“I’m glad that’s over with,” trainer Ralph Biamonte said Thursday morning. “I was concerned about the weight. He’s a big, strong horse. I thought he’d handle it. But until they do, you never know.”

Jenna’s Wabbit ran his record to 3 for 3 this season. His other wins came in the Bold Ruckus for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds at six furlongs on the turf and in the six-furlong Achievement for Ontario-breds on the main track.

“He probably went into this race mentally better than any of his others,” Biamonte said. “He relaxed and changed leads for the first time on the Polytrack. He changed leads on the turf. Now he’ll just get a little break and point for the Vice Regent.”

The $125,000 Vice Regent, a one-mile turf race for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds, will be run here Sept. 2.

No turf racing next three weeks

Woodbine’s turf courses will be getting a break next month.

The turf training track closed July 26 and will remain so through Aug. 14. There will be no turf racing Aug. 6-17.

While the turf training course break is an annual event, the main turf closing is not.

“It’s something we decided the turf needs, especially this year, with the lack of rain earlier this summer,“ said Steve Lym, racing secretary and a director of racing for the Woodbine Entertainment Group. “We want to have it good for a fall campaign.”

Sean Gault, Woodbine’s senior manager, racing surfaces, said the turf course would be cleared of dead grass and aerified, a process that involves punching small holes several inches apart to a depth of five or six inches.

“It helps loosen it up and gets water and air down into the roots,” Gault said. “It’s basic lawn maintenance.”