My Conquestadory Latest OBS Success for Casse
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt
My Conquestadory won the 2013 Darley Alcibiades.
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For juvenile fillies in trainer Mark Casse's barn, the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co.'s 2-year-olds in training auctions are a good place to start. Casse has an eye for stakes fillies and appears headed to saddle his fourth straight OBS 2-year-old sale graduate in the Breeders' Cup with My Conquestadory, the adventurous winner of the Darley Alcibiades (gr. I) at Keeneland Race Course Oct. 4.

Casse's run of success with 2-year-old fillies bought at OBS dates back to John Oxley's Delightful Mary who finished third behind Awesome Feather in the 2010 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I) at Churchill Downs. Oxley's Northern Passion followed with a seventh-place finish for Casse in the 2011 Juvenile Fillies, also at Churchill. Last year, Casse saddled Spring the Air, also owned by Oxley and winner of the 2012 Darley Alcibiades, to a fifth-place finish in the Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita Park.

Relishing the opportunity to return to the Breeders' Cup, Casse is proud of the streak but is aiming to come away with a win and potentially a championship this time around.

"I'm excited that this is the fourth year in a row that we could have a 2-year-old filly in the Breeders' Cup," he said. "The others were graded stakes winners as well as Breeders' Cup runners. I feel honored to be in this position."

My Conquestadory could be any kind. Racing in the colors of Ernie Semersky and Dory Newell's Conquest Stables, My Conquestadory, named by Ernie with a nod to Dory, is now perfect in two starts--both stakes. She dusted the boys in Woodbine's TVG Summer Stakes (Can-gr. IIT) over a mile on turf in her debut. In the Darley Alcibiades, she overcame traffic trouble to win the 1 1/16-mile Polytrack test by 1 3/4 lengths, providing Casse his second consecutive win in the grade I race.

Conquest Stables was among the leading buyers during the OBS 2-year-olds in training sales this season.  The outfit bought My Conquestadory, a daughter of Artie Schiller  , for $240,000 out of the Eisaman Equine consignment at the OBS select sale in March where she drilled one furlong in :10 at the under tack preview. The filly sold for $70,000 as a yearling at the Keeneland September sale of 2012.

"There are just so many nice things to say about her," commented Barry Eisaman. "She never made any mistakes. She does everything so easily. It's uncanny how impressive she's been in her performances. She is really quick, and she can carry her speed. It will be fun to watch her in the Breeders' Cup."

My Conquestadory caught Casse's eye during the preview.

"We bought a lot of nice horses at the 2-year-old sales this year," said Casse. "Just the name of this one tells you how much we thought of her from the beginning. If you judged a horse on a scale from 1 to 10, she's way up there. She's a beautiful mover. She has a strong back. She's the whole package. You just don't find a lot of them like her."

Explaining the decision to enter My Conquestadory in the Summer Stakes against the boys in the initial start of her career, Casse related: "Woodbine's turf course is a little different than most. It doesn't have the sharp turns that a lot of turf courses have. On those courses, a quick turn of foot usually decides the winner. Over Woodbine's turf course, the best horses usually win. She was training exceptionally well going into the race, and we figured she was the best horse.

"This is a dream come true so far," Casse said. "I'm not aware of too many horses that won a grade I and a grade II in their first two starts. I've never had so many people contact me after a win. I even had a couple of people stop by the barn the day after the race to let me know they are starting a My Conquestadory fan club. The response has just been incredible."

The perennial leading conditioner at Woodbine, Casse has expanded the scope of his operation in recent years training for clients like Oxley, Eugene Melnyk, Gary Barber and most recently Semersky and Newell.

With the clients I train for these days I feel like I'm armed with a bazooka," said Casse. "They all are special people. I've worked long and hard in this business. I'm truly appreciating the success we've enjoyed the last few years.

"The team I have is everything," he added. "I rely a lot on my son, Norman, and David Adams runs our Woodbine string. I have a great deal of confidence in my team. Often, they are my eyes and ears. Having a team I have faith in means we can go anywhere and find the best spots to place our horses."

Both of My Conquestadory's stakes wins have come in Breeders' Cup Challenge "Win and You're In" events. Her victory in the TVG Summer Stakes makes her eligible for the $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf (gr. IT), and her Darley Alcibiades score secured her a berth in the $2 million Juvenile Fillies on the dirt, a surface she has never competed over. Casse reported that his charge exited her latest effort in fine fashion and that both races are still under consideration.

"It's funny, at dinner the other night Ernie told me 'the money doesn't matter. We should go in the turf race because she's never run on dirt.' I told him the only chance she would have to be a champion would be to run in the dirt race. Ernie's response: 'Now you have my attention'."

In addition to My Conquestadory, Conquest Stables has been represented this season by impressive winners Conquest Whiplash (also a stakes winner on debut), Conquest Two Step and Conquest Titan, all OBS 2-year-old sales graduates.

"Ernie has been successful in everything he's been a part of," said Casse. "Others have expected this type of success in the horse business, but very few actually realize it."

According to Equibase statistics through , Conquest Stables has won six of 17 races this year and earned $632,265 in purses.

"They have only been involved in the industry a little over a year now," Casse said. "We had to strike and strike quickly at the 2-year-old sales. We definitely hit the sales hard. The success of 2-year-old sale graduates is phenomenal. It's safe to say, we'll be back next year."

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