05/15/2009 12:00AM

Casse aims Tasty Temptation at Oaks


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Mark Casse sent out back-to-back winners of the 1 1/8 mile Woodbine Oaks, with Kimchi prevailing in the 2006 running and Sealy Hill in 2007. On Sunday, Casse will send out his main hopeful for this year's June 7 Woodbine Oaks, with Tasty Temptation scheduled to face 10 rivals, including stablemate Closing Speed in the 1 1/16-mile La Lorgnette.

The La Lorgnette, an open race for 3-year-old fillies, previously was run in September but has traded places on the stakes calendar with the Grade 3 Selene, another open 1 1/16-mile race for 3-year-old fillies.

The La Lorgnette will be the first stakes test for Tasty Temptation, who is owned by Woodford Racing LLC after being purchased for $170,000 at the Keeneland September yearling sale.

After opening up her career here last Nov. 29 with a closing second-place finish over five furlongs, Tasty Temptation was part of the Casse contingent at Santa Anita and won her maiden at 1 1/16 miles in her fourth start there.

"She's a pretty good filly," said Casse. "She's been unlucky. There were a couple of races she should have won, especially her last start."

Tasty Temptation's latest came in a first-level allowance over 1 1/16 miles at Keeneland, and Casse says the "Tough trip" comment at the end of her past performance line says it all. Tasty Temptation finish fifth, 1 1/4 lengths behind the winner.

"She was in trouble out of the gate, on the first turn, on the backstretch, and down the lane," said Casse. "It was one of those races you just shake your head at."

Closing Speed, a Kentucky-bred who also is owned by the Woodford group, won her maiden while in for an $85,000 claiming price over six furlongs at Santa Anita and doubled up here in a first-level allowance at 6 1/2 furlongs. The La Lorgnette will be Closing Speed's first try around two turns.

"She'll be there to make sure there's a nice, honest pace," said Casse. "But if they leave her alone and let her gallop along in front, who knows?"

Slow start for Retraceable

Retraceable was one of the top Canadian-bred 2-year-old fillies on the grounds last year, winning the 1 1/16-mile Princess Elizabeth and finishing second in the 1 1/16-mile Ontario Lassie for trainer and part-owner Casse. But while she remains eligible for the Woodbine Oaks, Retraceable is unlikely to make the race after hitting a couple of bumps in the road during the off-season.

"I brought her in a couple of times, but I wasn't comfortable with the way she was moving," said Casse. "I sent her out and swam her for 45 days."

Retraceable did not breeze here until April 22 and worked for the fourth time last Saturday.

"The last three weeks, she's been thriving in her work," said Casse.

Casse is pointing her for the $250,000 Bison City, a 1 1/16-mile race for fillies and mares here June 28. It follows the Woodbine Oaks as the second leg of the triple tiara for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies.

Double Malt must prove herself

Malcolm Pierce, who trains one of the leading Queen's Plate candidates in El Brujo, will be looking to get Double Malt to the Woodbine Oaks with a good effort in the La Lorgnette.

"I guess we'll find out a lot this Sunday on whether we take the next step or not," said Pierce.

Double Malt, an Ontario-sired filly owned by Mike Ambler and partners, won the restricted South Ocean over 1 1/16 miles here last fall. After wintering with Pierce at the Fair Grounds but not making it to the races, Double Malt returned to Woodbine and finished fourth and sixth in 3-year-old filly stakes sprints two weeks apart. Double Malt finished 5 3/4 lengths behind stablemate Mullins Beach in the April 4 La Voyageuse and five lengths behind fellow La Lorgnette entrant Milwaukee Appeal in the April 19 Star Shoot.

"Those races got her fit and back in the game," said Pierce.

High Mist going straight to Oaks

High Mist is skipping the La Lorgnette and going straight to the Woodbine Oaks following her runner-up finish in the seven-furlong Fury here May 3.

"That was always the plan, to go straight to the Oaks from the Fury," said trainer Reade Baker. "I thought all the races were too close to participate in them all. I think she'll run her best race around two turns off the layoff. I'd rather she whacks herself out in the Oaks than in the La Lorgnette.

High Mist flopped last year when stretched out to 1 1/16 miles for the Princess Elizabeth. She was a front-running winner of her first two outings last year. This year, racing without blinkers, High Mist has employed a stalking style when third in the La Voyageuse and second in the Fury.

"She settled as easy as you could expect her too last time," said Baker. "The blinkers get her on the muscle."

Despite High Mist's absence the Baker barn still has a La Lorgnette entrant in Bear's Lightning, a Kentucky-bred owned by Bear Stable. Bear's Lightning graduated over 1 1/16 miles here last fall and has finished second in each of her two starts at this meeting, including a first-level allowance at 1 1/16 miles on May 1.

No blinkers for Judiths Wild Rush

Baker also will be looking to get Judiths Wild Rush back into the groove in Monday's Grade 3 Vigil, the seven-furlong holiday feature for 4-year-olds and upward.

Canada's champion sprinter when trained by Baker in 2005 and 2006, Judiths Wild Rush was returned to his care this spring, but finished seventh in the six-furlong Jacques Cartier on April 25.

In the Vigil, the 8-year-old Judiths Wild Rush will run without blinkers for the first time since his final start as a 2-year-old. He has been equipped with blinkers for his last 56 outings.

"I thought he left his race in the post parade last time," said Baker. "He was overanxious; he loves to run. Hopefully, taking the blinkers off will get him to run his race after they leave the gate."

The Vigil has attracted a strong lineup, including last year's winner, Disfunction. He is perfect in two starts this season, including the Jacques Cartier.

Rebellion, who is coming off a bang-up second-place finish in the Grade 2 Commonwealth over seven furlongs at Keeneland, has been supplemented to the Vigil and is scheduled to ship in for trainer Graham Motion.