Twin Spires form backdrop for Casse's Breeders' Cup quintet
Date Posted: 10/26/2012 6:09:51 PM
Last Updated: 10/29/2012 3:58:05 PM
Trainer Mark Casse had planned to work his two juvenile fillies pointing to
the Breeders' Cup on Friday and the boys would work Saturday. The threat of
rainy conditions Friday and Saturday caused Casse to call an audible and all
five of his Breeders' Cup hopefuls breezed over the fast main track at Churchill
Downs on Friday morning.
Grade 1 victor Pool Play logged five-eighths in 1:02 4/5 in advance of the
Breeders' Cup Classic. The Silver Deputy seven-year-old worked in company with
Grade 3 Ontario Derby winner Stealcase, who recorded the same time for the Grade
3 Ack Ack Handicap at Churchill Downs on November 2.
Pool Play, winner of last year's Grade 1 Stephen Foster Handicap at odds of
more than 36-1, had his 2011 campaign end early with a tendon injury. He
returned to racing in July after more than a year-long layoff and, in his most
recent start, captured the Grade 2 Hawthorne Gold Cup to improve his record on
dirt to a perfect two-for-two.
"I was just hoping to get him back," Casse said. "We kind of had a plan and a
strategy and it wasn't necessarily to get him to the Classic, but to get him
back on dirt. We did it just the way we wanted to and once we felt like he was
at his peak fitness level we knew we were ready for the dirt."
Jockey Miguel Mena was aboard for the work and will have the mount in the
Another Casse horse with an interesting workmate was Spring in the Air, who
worked with Grade 3 Commonwealth Turf probable Lockout. Spring in the Air is
being pointed to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies off her win in the Grade 1
Alcibiades at Keeneland and breezed five furlongs in 1:03 under exercise rider
Jason Hoyte. Grade 3 runner-up Lockout, a head winner of the Remington
Green in late September, logged five panels in 1:01 3/5.
"I thought she handled the dirt quite nicely," Casse said. "She was our first
one to work. They went away a little slow and she finished just in a gallop. She
Spring in the Air will be ridden by Patrick Husbands in the Juvenile Fillies.
Casse's other Breeders' Cup filly Spring Venture was clocked in 1:01 1/5 for
her five-furlong drill under Hoyte while working in company. The Spring at Last
lass is undefeated in three starts and will enter the Breeders' Cup Juvenile
Fillies Turf off wins in the Grade 2 Natalma and Grade 3 Mazarine.
"Spring Venture got away from the pole a little quick," Casse said. "She just
wants to go. That will be (jockey) Patrick (Husbands') biggest challenge:
getting her to relax. She worked the fastest, but that's just her. She doesn't
really know what slow is, but she looked great."
A $320,000 two-year-old in training purchase, Spring Venture is owned by Gary
Barber and Stoneway Farm LLC.
Barber also owns Delegation, who is being pointed to the Breeders' Cup Dirt
Mile off his win in the Grade 3 Durham Cup at Woodbine. With Hoyte in the irons,
the Speightstown sophomore breezed five furlongs in 1:02 3/5 while working in
"Delegation worked really well," Casse said. "He broke off and there were two
horses in front of him going a half mile and he about ran over the top of them.
He went around them and then came up on another horse and Jason (Hoyte) had him
out in the middle of the track. He went in 1:02 and change, but probably could
have gone in :59."
Casse's Breeders' Cup Juvenile hopeful Dynamic Sky was also guided in his
work by Hoyte, breezing in 1:02 1/5 in company. The Sky Mesa two-year-old will
enter the Juvenile off a runner-up effort in the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity at
"He ran 72 feet farther than the winner (in the Breeders' Futurity)," Casse
noted. "I told (jockey) Luis (Contreras) to make an earlier run and he made a
run in the middle of the turn. When he came out of the turn, he started laying
in and it cost him his momentum. I think he was the best horse in the race. I
don't think there's any question."
Casse, who is seeking his first Breeders' Cup victory, said the horses will
ship to California on Sunday.
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