The Casse Racing shedrow was one of the happier places on the Keeneland backstretch the morning of April 14.
In addition to Mark Casse being honored with his ninth Sovereign Award for outstanding trainer the previous night, the barn's latest turf standout, La Coronel, was in good order the day after her 3 1/4-length triumph in a particularly salty edition of the $125,000 Appalachian Stakes Presented by Japan Racing Association (G3T).
La Coronel stamped herself the pro-tem leader of a deep bunch of 3-year-old turf fillies when she handily bested an 11-horse field that included 2016 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1T) winner New Money Honey and runner-up Coasted.
Casse indicated after the Appalachian that the daughter of Colonel John might take on males next in American Turf (G2T) at Churchill Downs May 6. Given what assistant trainer David Carroll saw Friday morning, the dark bay filly is ready for whatever comes at her next.
"She jogged sound this morning. Her legs were cold and tight," Carroll said. "She had a great trip in the race, but she was much the best. Some said they had trouble and (jockey) Julien (Leparoux), who was on our other filly Dreaming Dancing (fourth), said he'd beat (La Coronel) next time. But I don't think so. This filly has that tactical speed and she has a kick. And she wasn't even all-out yesterday.
"We'd like to separate the two of them (La Coronel and Dream Dancing) and I think La Coronel is strong enough and has that kick that she'd be capable against males. And Mark is not afraid to do that."
Appalachian runner-up Morticia was also in good order Friday, trainer Rusty Arnold said, and would likely be pointed to the $200,000 Penn Oaks at Penn National Race Course June 3. Both Dream Dancing and third-place finisher Proctor's Ledge are possible for the Edgewood Stakes Presented by by Forcht Bank (G3T) at Churchill May 5.
Trained Chad Brown called New Money Honey's sixth-place finish as the favorite in the Appalachian "a disappointment," but said the daughter of Medaglia d'Oro came out of her seasonal bow with no physical issue.
"She looks OK today," Brown said Friday morning. "It was a bit of a rough trip and she didn't really seem to care for the turf here, which is fine. It happens. We'll get her back to New York and point to something at Belmont."
Stakes winner Bellavais was "good but tired," according to trainer Jimmy Toner, after running fifth in her first try against graded stakes company. Toner said the tiny chestnut daughter of Tapit would likely shorten up for her next start and be pointed to the seven-furlong Soaring Softly Stakes at Belmont Park May 20.
"I thought she ran well, but it didn't look like the layup horses did that well," Toner said. "The horses that ran better all had races in March."