Casse Works Quintet of Breeders' Cup Hopefuls

Oct 26, 2012 Travers Manley

Trainer Mark Casse had planned to work his two juvenile fillies pointing to the Breeders’ Cup on Friday and the boys would work Saturday. The threat of rainy conditions Friday and Saturday caused Casse to call an audible and all five of his Breeders’ Cup hopefuls breezed at the home of the Kentucky Derby on Friday morning.

In preparation for the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (Grade I), Bill Farish’s Pool Play breezed five furlongs in 1:02.80 in company with Ontario Derby (GIII) winner Stealcase, who is being pointed to the Ack Ack Handicap (GIII) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 2.

Pool Play, winner of the 2011 Stephen Foster Handicap (GI) at odds of more than 36-1, had his 2011 campaign end early with a tendon injury. He returned to racing in July after more than a year-long layoff and in his most recent start he won the Hawthorne Gold Cup (GII) to improve his record on dirt to a perfect 2-for-2.

“I was just hoping to get him back,” Casse said. “We kind of had a plan and a strategy and it wasn’t necessarily to get him to the Classic, but to get him back on dirt. We did it just the way we wanted to and once we felt like he was at his peak fitness level we knew we were ready for the dirt.”

Jockey Miguel Mena was aboard for the work and will have the mount in the Classic.

Another Casse horse with an interesting workmate was John Oxley’s Spring in the Air, who worked with Commonwealth Turf (GIII) probable Lockout. Spring in the Air, who is being pointed to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (GI) off her win in the Darley Alcibiades (GI) at Keeneland, breezed five furlongs in 1:03 under exercise rider Jason Hoyte.

“I thought she handled the dirt quite nicely,” Casse said. “She was our first one to work. They went away a little slow and she finished just in a gallop. She looked good.”

Spring in the Air will be ridden by Patrick Husbands in the Juvenile Fillies.

Casse’s other Breeders’ Cup filly Spring Venture was clocked in 1:01.20 for her five-furlong drill under Hoyte while working in company. Spring Venture is undefeated in three starts and will enter the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (GI) off wins in the Natalma (GII) and Mazarine (GIII).

“Spring Venture got away from the pole a little quick,” Casse said.  “She just wants to go. That will be (jockey) Patrick (Husbands’) biggest challenge: getting her to relax. She worked the fastest, but that’s just her. She doesn’t really know what slow is, but she looked great.”

A $320,000 2-year-old in training purchase, Spring Venture is owned by Gary Barber and Stoneway Farm LLC.

Barber also owns Delegation, who is being pointed to the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile (GI) off his win in the Durham Cup (GIII) at Woodbine. With Hoyte in the irons, Delegation breezed five furlongs in 1:02.60.

“Delegation worked really well,” Casse said. “He broke off and there were two horses in front of him going a half mile and he about ran over the top of them. He went around them and then came up on another horse and Jason (Hoyte) had him out in the middle of the track. He went in 1:02 and change, but probably could have gone in :59.”

Casse’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (GI) hopeful Dynamic Sky also was guided in his work by Hoyte and breezed in 1:02.20 in company. Owned by Oxley, Dynamic Sky will enter the Juvenile off a runner-up effort to Joha in the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (GI) at Keeneland.

“He ran 72 feet farther than the winner,” Casse said. “I told (jockey) Luis (Contreras) to make an earlier run and he made a run in the middle of the turn. When he came out of the turn, he started laying in and it cost him his momentum. I think he was the best horse in the race. I don’t think there’s any question.”

Casse, who is seeking his first Breeders’ Cup victory, said the horses will ship to California on Sunday. 

PATAKY KID BLOWS OUT THREE FURLONGS IN PREP FOR SUNDAY’S IROQUOIS – Two days before Pataky Kid will face nine rivals in Sunday’s 31st running of the Iroquois (GIII) at Churchill Downs, trainer Tom Proctor sent the bay son of Rockport Harbor out for a three-furlong blowout beneath the Twin Spires. 

With assistant trainer Lisa Sloan overseeing the move, Pataky Kid was clocked in :36.60 in his second work at Churchill Downs since finishing fourth in the Dixiana Breeders’ Futurity (GI) at Keeneland on Oct. 6.

“I wanted to let him get over the ground and I heard he worked well,” Proctor said via phone from his barn at Santa Anita while overseeing the training of his Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (GI) hopeful Marketing Mix, winner of last fall’s Mrs. Revere (GII).

Pataky Kid, winner of the Arlington-Washington Futurity (GIII) at Arlington Park for owner Swifty Farms Inc., will have an equipment change for the Iroquois.

“He ran a little green in the Breeders’ Futurity and we’re going to run him with blinkers this time,” Proctor said. “Hopefully the blinkers correct it.”

Pataky Kid, the 4-1 third choice on Mike Battaglia’s morning line for the Iroquois, will break from post three under Joel Rosario.

PLETCHER, ZITO AMONG TRAINERS SHIPPING IN FOR FALL MEET – Strings of horses trained by Todd Pletcher and Nick Zito arrived at Churchill Downs on Thursday and Friday and those trainers are just two of the many top conditioners who will have a major presence at the 21-day Fall Meet.  

Joining the traditionally strong training colony at Churchill Downs during the fall of Steve Asmussen, Dale Romans, Ken McPeek, Eddie Kenneally, Mike Maker and Bill Mott, among others, are Pletcher, Zito, Eoin Harty, David Fawkes, John Terranova, Mike Stidham, Steve Hobby, Brian Lynch and Tim Hamm.

Trainers Larry Jones and Ron Moquett were stabled at Churchill Downs during the Spring Meet and have returned for the Fall.

DOWN THE STRETCH Repole Stable’s Overanalyze arrived at the Todd Pletcher barn at Churchill Downs on Friday morning to continue his preparations for Sunday’s Iroquois (GIII). Sheldon Nitenson’s Danalake, who will run in Sunday’s Pocahontas (GII), also arrived at the Pletcher barn Friday. Both horses will train on the Louisville oval for the first time Saturday morning … Siva, a 2-year-old colt owned partially by University of Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino and named for U of L point guard Peyton Siva, breezed three furlongs in :37.60 Friday morning for trainer Dale Romans. Both Pitino and Siva were present to witness the workout and Romans said the horse could very well make his first start during the Fall Meet … Also working for Romans on Friday was Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (GI) hopeful Summit County, who breezed five furlongs in 1:01.40. He will ship to California on Monday … Super Derby (GII) winner Bourbon Courage breezed a bullet four furlongs at Churchill Downs on Friday morning in :47.80 for trainer Kellyn GorderWeights for the 20th running of the $100,000-added Ack Ack Handicap (GIII) for 3-year-olds and up at one mile on the main track at Churchill Downs will be announced Friday (today) … Nominations for the $100,000-added Commonwealth Turf (GIII) and the $175,000-added Mrs. Revere (GII) close Wednesday, Oct. 31. The Commonwealth Turf, for 3-year-olds at 1 1/16 miles on the Matt Winn Turf Course, and the Mrs. Revere for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles on the turf, will be run under the lights at Churchill Downs on Nov. 17 during the Fall Meet’s lone Down’s After Dark racing program … Churchill Downs will host Family Fun Days Presented by Kroger on Sunday (Oct. 28). Activities, which will take place on the Horsemen’s Balcony overlooking the Paddock, include a Trick or Treat Parade with Churchill Charlie         The first 5,000 fans through the gates on Opening Day at Churchill Downs on Oct. 28 will receive a free 2013 Churchill Downs calendar compliments of Humana.

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