"The plan is currently to probably just run one; it could change but that's not likely," Casse said when reached by phone at the Keeneland September yearling sale Sept. 13. "Right now I'm leaning toward running Stealcase and probably holding off and running Prospective in the Oklahoma Derby (gr. II, Sept. 30)."
Ohio Derby (gr. III) winner Prospective was assigned high weight of 124 pounds while Steelcase gets 117 in a field of nine sophomores entered in the 1 1/8-mile Ontario Derby, which will be contested over Woodbine's all-weather track on the undercard of the $1 million Ricoh Woodbine Mile (Can-IT). The Ontario Derby, race seven with an approximate post of 4:04 p.m. EDT, will be televised via TVG and MSG+.
Stealcase, seventh in the Aug. 25 Travers Stakes (gr. I) last out, was third in the Haskell Invitational (gr. I) one race prior off a runner-up finish in the June 16 Matt Winn Stakes (gr. III) at Churchill Downs. The Lawyer Ron colt also completed the trifecta in the Cliff's Edge Derby Trial (gr. III) earlier in the season, then won a May 31 allowance by four lengths at Churchill, his second career score.
"In the Travers obviously we were hoping for a little better," Casse said. "My hope for him is to kind of get him back on the winning track and then go from there."
Prospective, by Malibu Moon, was eighth in the July 28 Jim Dandy (gr. II) on a sloppy track and hasn't raced since then.
"We've come to the conclusion he doesn't like the mud," Casse remarked. "In fact, we entered to run him in the Smarty Jones Stakes (Sept. 3 at Parx Racing) and the track came up sloppy so we scratched him. We're using that as an excuse but we'll hold off until Oklahoma with him."
Casse also has Patrioticandproud in the Ontario Derby. The Proud Citizen colt was three times the bridesmaid at Woodbine in allowances in April and May and in the Victoria Stakes in June before breaking through by a length going 1 1/8 miles on the turf last time out. It was his first win since breaking his maiden last October.
Ontario-bred Ultimate Destiny was also knocking at the door in his most recent start over grass, a runner-up finish by 1 1/2 lengths in the Sept. 2 Vice Regent Stakes for owner Brenda K. Selwyn Waxman and trainer Michael Keogh. The son of Dance to Destiny finished eighth in the Aug. 5 Breeders' Stakes but showed promise one start before, missing the Prince of Wales Stakes by a length to Dixie Strike.
Stronach Stables' River Rush is another Ontario-bred. The son of Orientate won an allowance event July 29 going 1 1/16 miles on the all-weather track for trainer Reade Baker last out, and also won the June 3 Plate Trial Stakes. But he ran sixth in the Queen's Plate between the two.
$150,000 Ontario Derby (gr. III, Race 7, 4:04 p.m.), 3YOs, 1 1/8 Miles (All Weather)
PP, Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer
1. Patrioticandproud (PA), E.R. Da Silva, 119, M E Casse
2. River Rush (ON), J. McAleney, 119, R Baker
3. Ultimate Destiny (ON), S.R. Bahen, 117, M Keogh
4. Gung Ho (PA), J.R. Velazquez, 117, M J Maker
5. Colleen's Sailor (ON), G.K. Gomez, 117, R L Attfield
6. Prospective (KY), P. Husbands, 124, M E Casse
7. Stealcase (KY), P. Husbands, 117, M E Casse
8. Peyton (ON), J. Stein, 117, M J Doyle
9. Any Given Royal (KY), L. Contreras, 117, B A Lynch.