Clearly Foxy Wins Natalma as Trainer Casse Sweeps

Trainer Mark Casse's runners swept the board in the CAN$162,000 Natalma Stakes (Can-III) for 2-year-old fillies, with the longest of his three hopes, 17-1 shot Clearly Foxy, driving to victory for jockey Jono Jones on the Woodbine lawn Sept. 9.

This was the second year in a row that Casse posted a huge surprise in the Natalma. Canada's reigning Sovereign Award trainer won the 2006 edition with 48-1 shot Sprung. The Natalma was won two years ago by Arravale, who became Canada's Horse of the Year in 2006.

Clearly Foxy was one of two starters for owner Charles Laloggia racing uncoupled in the 10-horse field. The other, the previously unbeaten Lickety Lemon, finished third at odds of 4-5. In-between them was 12-1 Nite in Rome, also trained by Casse for owner W.S. Farish.

The winning Kentucky-bred daughter of Volponi--Sermon, by Pulpit has now won both of her starts. She won her debut in a six-furlong maiden turf event by 2 1/2 lengths Aug. 6 at Woodbine.

Was Casse surprised by the outcome? "Yes and no. I had a tough time separating the three fillies. Everybody liked Lickety Lemon, but this filly broke her maiden easy. I'm surprised a little, but all three of them are nice fillies. She should do nothing but get better."

Settled in third while racing off the rail in the one-mile Natalma, Clearly Foxy picked up the pace on the final turn, bidding to take the lead from the pacesetting Lacadena mid-stretch. She drew away under a drive by Jones for a 3 1/2-length triumph. Nite in Rome, rallying from far back for jockey Mike Smith, picked up second by 1 1/2 lengths over Lickety Lemon, guided by Patrick Husbands. The winning time was 1:36 on firm going.

"She was real sharp at the start, but after the first couple of jumps, she relaxed perfectly. There was no catching her today," said Jones. "She's a lovely filly. Even galloping out, she never really got tired. I think you'll hear a lot from her later on."

Lickety Lemon came with her run four wide on the final turn but struggled in the stretch and was no match for the winner.

"I don't really know," Casse said when asked what happened to Lickety Lemon. "The turf's a little different today. Maybe she just didn't handle the turf. I think she's better than you saw today. But Clearly Foxy could be any kind. So we'll see what happens. They've written a new race now for the Breeders' Cup (a 2-year-old race) at a mile on the turf. But oddly enough, I thought all along she's better on the Polytrack."

It was a leading 10th stakes win of the Woodbine season for Casse. He continues to lead Woodbine trainers in wins with 46, and his stable is also well ahead in money won, now more than $3.3 million.

Hopewell Investments and Tim Kegel bred the bay Clearly Foxy. She was a $50,000 buy at the 2006 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky Select Yearling Sale, then sold for $40,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic sale as a 2-year-old. The win, worth CAN$90,000, bumped her total earnings to CAN$126,000.

Clearly Foxy paid $36.30, $16.50 and $5.70. Nite in Rome returned $12.40 and $5.40, completing a $294.30 exacta. The trifecta, with Lickety Lemon paying $2.70 to show, was $755.40.

Lacadena, who set fractions of :23 2/5, :47 2/5 and 1:12, finished fourth. She was followed by Remarkable Remy, Honour Fulfilled, Bar City, Star of Jove, Raw Possibility and Waveline. Officer Cherrie, also entered by Casse and Laloggia, was scratched.

(Chart, Equibase)

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