06/10/2007 11:00PM

Casse, Husbands sweep Oaks day stakes


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Mark Casse and jockey Patick Husbands combined for a career day Sunday at Woodbine, capturing all three stakes on the card, most notably the $502,000 Woodbine Oaks with Sealy Hill.

Street Sounds, 6-5 favorite in the Oaks under Ramon Dominguez, set brisk fractions of 23.42 seconds, 46.89 and 1:11.09 while being pressed by Saskawea. Sealy Hill rated kindly in fourth, about six lengths off the lead, and began to make up ground heading into the far turn, as the leaders began to tire.

Sealy Hill blew by Street Sounds nearing the eighth pole, before drawing clear to win by 4 1/4 lengths. Saskawea dug in gamely and finished second by that same margin over Street Sounds.

The final time, 1:50.68, wasn't far off Woodbine's Polytrack record of 1:50.49.

Sealy Hill was coming off a 26-length loss to Rags to Riches over a muddy track in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks.

"I was never worried," said Husbands, who won last year's Oaks aboard the Casse-trained Kimchi. "The [key] with this filly is to get her to relax. She never relaxed throughout the whole race in the [Kentucky] Oaks. The last three weeks, all we did was work her behind horses. Once we got her to relax, we knew that she could deal with these Canadian horses."

Trainer Michael Matz said Street Sounds failed to settle sufficiently in the early stages of the race.

"I think she was too sharp and didn't finish," Matz said. "[Dominguez] said he felt if he would have strangled her any more, it would have been worse. Maybe she doesn't want to go a mile and an eighth."

Sealy Hill returned $9.70 as the second choice in the nine-horse field of Canadian-bred 3-year-olds. A homebred daughter of Point Given, she earned $300,000 for Melnyk Racing Stable, which boosted her bankroll to $555,622.

,strong>Casse dominates undercard stakes

Casse-trained runners ran one-two in each of the two supporting features on the card.

In the $125,800 Victoria Park for 3-year-olds, Approval Rating scored by five lengths over Skip Code, while Angel of the House wound up third in the seven-horse field.

Approval Rating took control from front-running Forbidden Bear at the quarter pole, and then drew away to complete nine furlongs in 1:50.89.

Approval Rating ($4.50) banked $75,000 for Woodford Racing LLC.

In the $103,600 Alywow for 3-year-old fillies, Silky Smooth caught Quiet Action on the wire to prevail by a head, covering six and a half furlongs on the grass in 1:15.62.

Silky Smooth ($18.30) picked up $60,000 for Woodford. John Velasquez rode both Skip Code and Quiet Action.