Casino Drive will be pointed for the Oct. 25 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I). <br><a target="blank" href="">Order This Photo</a>

Casino Drive will be pointed for the Oct. 25 Breeders' Cup Classic (gr. I).
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Anne M. Eberhardt

Casino Drive to Return for BC Classic

Casino Drive’s quest to become the third straight Belmont Stakes (gr. I) winner produced by his dam Better Than Honour failed when the colt suffered a stone bruise two days before the race and was scratched the morning of the race. But this isn’t the last we’ll see of the son of Mineshaft , who will now point for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I), with a prep beforehand.

Casino Drive and stablemates Spark Candle and Champagne Squall are scheduled to fly back to Japan Monday night.

“We X-rayed him and everything is good,” said Nobutaka Tada, racing manager for owner Hidetoshi Yamamoto. “He’s eating well and looks good, and that’s what is important. The way we look at it, we’re glad we found it before the race and that we saved the horse from further injury. I’m happy. Can you imagine the sight of Big Brown and Casino Drive walking down the stretch?

“We’ll give him a break and start training him in August. Hopefully, we’ll be able to return for the Breeders’ Cup and a prep race. We won’t race him in Japan because he can’t run in a group race. He only has a maiden win.

“I’m actually more disappointed in Spark Candle’s race (in the grade III Hill Prince, in which he finished last).," Tada said. “We thought he was in good condition, but the ground was too soft for him after the big rain we had. We were happy to see New Approach win the Vodafone Epsom Derby (Eng-I), because his sister is Champagne Squall’s dam.”

Tada said, despite being in America so long, he is sorry to leave. “The people are so nice, and it’s hard to say goodbye to everyone, especially the people in this (John Hertler’s) barn. The NYRA people, the press people; they’ve all have been so nice to us.”

When asked if he feels like he’s been Americanized, Tada said, “Next time I come I’ll say, ‘Hey man, my horse is going to win the Breeders’ Cup, babe.”