John Oxley’s Uncaptured took the lead from runner-up Positively in mid-stretch and increased his advantage from there to take the 31st running of the Grade III, $114,800 Iroquois by a widening 5 ½ lengths on opening day at Churchill Downs.
Ridden by Miguel Mena for trainer Mark Casse, Uncaptured broke well with the rest of the field and rated in mid-pack through fractions of :22.88 and :46.24 set by longshot Road Agent. Mena began to move with Uncaptured nearing the top of the stretch, gained a slight advantage at the three-sixteenths pole and then exploded with run down the lane to kick clear of his nine rivals.
Uncaptured, a Canadian-bred son of Lion Heart out of the Arch mare Captivating, completed the mile over a fast main track in 1:37.63, a full second faster than Sign ran when she won the Pocahontas (GII) for 2-year-old fillies earlier on the card.
Uncaptured, a supplementary nomination to the Iroquois, returned $11.40, $4.60 and $3.60. Positively was second and paid $4 and $3. Overanalzye, the 9-5 favorite, was another 2 ½ lengths back in third and returned $3.
Strike the Note, Pataky Kid, Five Iron, Heaven’s Runway, Triple Cross, Agave Cat and Road Agent completed the order of finish.
“I had a good trip and he’s a very nice horse,” Mena said. “I had just a ton of horse and he just galloped. He’s very good.”
The victory was worth $67,617 and increased Uncaptured’s earnings to $406,845 with a record of 5-0-0 from six career starts.
Casse said there is a good possibility Uncaptured will make his next start in the $150,000-added Kentucky Jockey Club (GII) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 24. The Kentucky Jockey Club is part of the “Kentucky Derby Prep Season” and the Top 4 finishers will earn 10-4-2-1 points, respectively, on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby.”
“He had been very powerful before this and that’s why I wanted to bring him here and run him on the dirt,” Casse said. “If it didn’t work well then I was going to send him home for a break, but I think we got the answer today.”
Racing resumes Wednesday with a 10-race program that includes a Pick-6 carryover of $4,165. The Pick 6 will begin with Race 5 at 2:36 p.m. (all times Eastern) and post time for the first race is 12:40 p.m.
Mark Casse, trainer of Uncaptured, winner: “He’s a pretty good horse. He had a rough trip last time, but I don’t have a real good explanation (as to why he ran fifth in the Grey). He had been very powerful before this and that’s why I wanted to bring him here and run him on the dirt. If it didn’t work well then I was going to send him home for a break, but I think we got the answer today.
“We worked him last week with (Grade III Ontario Derby winner) Stealcase, who we think highly of, and he kind of played with Stealcase, so we were pretty confident.”
Q: Do you think you’ll run him back in the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs on Nov. 24? “It’s a good possibility.”
Miguel Mena, jockey on Uncaptured, winner: “I had a good trip and he’s a very nice horse. I had just a ton of horse and he just galloped. He’s very good. I didn’t even hit him.”
Calvin Borel, jockey on Positively, runner-up: “I can’t complain. I had a good trip and was able to put him right where I wanted. I just got outrun by a better horse, I think. Turning for home I thought we were in good shape. He was there for me, but he just got outrun.
“But it was a big step and a good step. We’re looking for bigger things.”
Pat Byrne, trainer of Positively, runner-up: “I thought my horse ran well. He got beat by a better horse. Obviously the horse that won is a good horse. He’s a Canadian champion. Something happened to him in the Grey Stakes. I didn’t see that race, but he definitely showed up here today. We just got beat by a better horse.”
Q: You had two good runs this weekend by Take Charge Indy in Keeneland’s Fayette and Positively here in the Iroquois, though neither got the win: “I was happy with my weekend, it was good. We were second-best today, but he’ll be okay. We’ll come back and take a look at the Kentucky Jockey Club. I don’t know if I can beat that horse. He just went past me like I was running out of oxygen or something.”
Julien Leparoux, jockey on Overanalyze, third: “My trip could have been better. He broke good, but coming to the turn he got squeezed and we kind of fell back after that. Then we ended up being wide, but he still came back in the stretch. He ran a good race, but he had a tough trip.”
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