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Breeders' Cup Runner-Up Excaper Leads Cast for Dania Beach
Breeders’ Cup Runner-Up Excaper Leads Cast for Dania Beach
Richard Kaster and Frederick Wietling’s 2-year-old Excaper finished a game second last out behind Irish invader Wrote in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) as a 33-to-1 longshot under regular rider Emma Jayne Wilson. They will go off a lot shorter odds Sunday when they team up again in the $100,000 Dania Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Wilson has ridden Excaper in all four of his career starts and will be in the saddle Sunday in the one mile turf test facing 10 rivals. Trained by Ian Black, the Kentucky homebred roan/gray colt by Exchange Rate won his career debut sprinting on Polytrack at Woodbine in August, finished a game second in the Summer Stakes (G3) on turf in September and fourth in the Gray Stakes (G3) on Polytrack in early October.
“Emma breezed him here Monday,” said Black “The time was slow (half-mile in 52), but the track was deep and he got what he needed out of it. He seems to like to sit up near the pace, but he’s not at all speed crazy. We look at this race more as the start of a new season rather than the end of a campaign. I’m pretty sure we’ll eventually try him on dirt at some point. At his age, you pretty much have to find out.”
Excaper’s chief threat in the Dania Beach would appear to be Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor and Derrick Smith’s Finale with regular jockey John Velazquez aboard for trainer Todd Pletcher. The son of Scat Daddy won the Summer Stakes with Excaper second, but finished seventh behind that rival in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf as the lukewarm, 4-to-1 favorite in the bulky field of 14.
Finale was a $175,000 weanling purchase at the Keeneland November sale in 2009 and went into the Breeders’ Cup undefeated in three previous starts on turf. He began his career finishing third and fourth in two starts sprinting on dirt at Belmont Park before breaking his maiden sprinting on turf there in July.
Prior to the Summer Stakes win Finale drew off to win the Continental Mile on turf at Monmouth Park by 10 ½ lengths. In the Breeders’ Cup he finished only two lengths behind Excaper with the Equibase notes reporting that he was “floated, checked and bumped” during the course of a rough trip.
Although he brings less experience into Sunday’s race, Waterford Stable’s Summer Front has won both of his starts on turf in New York for trainer Christophe Clement. Jockey Ramon Dominguez is named to ride the son of War Front after he won his debut at Belmont in late September and the $60,000 King Cugat Stakes over the Aqueduct course last out on Nov. 6.
Two other contenders with turf stakes experience in the field are Wesley Ward and Ice Wine Stable’s Italo and Harold Queen’s Burning Time, one-two last out in the $100,000 Arthur Appleton Juvenile Turf at Calder on Nov. 12.
Jockey Jeffrey Sanchez gets a return call on Italo for co-owner and trainer Wesley Ward in his fifth career start that began in France with a maiden score at Longchamp in late May. The With Distinction gelding was one of several 2-year-olds Ward shipped to Europe in the spring, but didn’t fare as well when finishing last in his second start in the Coventry Stakes at the Royal Ascot meet in England in June.
Back at home, Italo made two more starts before the Arthur Appleton victory, finishing sixth in the Saratoga Special (G2) in mid-August and running an even fourth behind Luke of York in the Keeneland 75th Anniversary Stakes on Polytrack in mid-October.
Jockey Luis Saez rides Burning Time for trainer David Fawkes as he comes back for his second try on turf after showing promise in five previous starts on dirt at Calder, including a victory in the $100,000 Foolish Pleasure Stakes. The Florida homebred son of Burning Roma had a rough trip in the Arthur Appleton and Fawkes suggest he might have been best that day.
Completing the field for the Danie Beach are Bruce Hollander’s Csaba, Javier Castellano; Luis Duco Stable’s Empire Builder, A.A. Gallardo; Steve Dwoskin’s Brother Pat, Ramon Silvera; Magdalena Stable’s Vee One Rotate, Manoel Cruz; Ken and Sarah Ramsey’s Coalport, Julien Leparoux; and Frank Mayfield, Jr.’s Starforce, J.L. Castanon.
Owner-trainer Jimmy DiVito entered Silver Menace for ‘main track only’ in the vent weather forced a chance of surface. The son of Silver Wagon won both of his starts in Chicago this year, one at Arlington Park on Polytrack in September and the second on dirt at Hawthorne in late November.