Trainer Mark Casse

Trainer Mark Casse

Skip Dickstein

Casse Tries to Find Out What He Has With Higher World

Mark Casse, who has trained in both the U.S. and Canada, knows one way to find out if you have a really good Canadian-based horse -- ship to the states.

He did it with Added Edge, and he did it with Exciting Story. Now, he is doing it with Higher World, who runs Saturday in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies (gr. I).

Added Edge was the champion juvenile colt in Canada in 2002, when he won all three of his starts in Canada before the Nashua Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct. Exciting Story was champion 2-year-old colt in Canada in 1999. He ran third in the Hopeful (gr. I) at Saratoga but as a 4-year-old, won the grade I Met Mile at Belmont.

"There's no question that the best way to find out what you have is ship and run against good horses," Casse said Friday morning at Lone Star Park as Higher World, by Peaks and Valleys, walked the shedrow. "I don't know how anyone else could know how she will stack up because I don't know how she fits."

But, Casse added, "I have a pretty good idea of what it takes."

Higher World was picked out at the Keeneland September sale by bloodstock agent Joe Brocklebank, who also recommended Casse to the filly's owners, Sal and Colleen Simeone who live on Long Island, where Sal owns a computer software company.

The couple, who are new to racing, call their Stable Sea Soft after the software business, Software Engineering of America.

Higher World, a uniquely colored gray, lost by a length in her first start and then broke her maiden and captured the Mazarine Breeders' Cup Stakes (Can-II) at Woodbine.

"There are some people that might not look favorably on the half-mile split in the Marazine (:49 2/5) but if you look back in her first race, she was right on the pace when they went 46 and three."

Casse gave Canadian-based rider Paul Husbands the option to stay home on World Thoroughbred Championships day, but the only jockey Higher World has known will make the trip for the race.

"He came and rode Jealous Forum for me," Casse said of the filly he sent out to finish eighth in the 2001 Juvenile Fillies. "He really wanted to come ride the filly here Saturday."

Casse, 43, is the son of well known horseman Norm Casse, the chairman of the Ocala Breeders' Sales Co. and longtime owner of Cardinal Hill Farm near Ocala, Fla.