04/19/2007 11:00PM

Casse reloads with two in Star Shoot


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Mark Casse, last year's Sovereign Award-winning trainer, captured the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks in 2006 with Kimchi, who went on to be voted Canada's champion 3-year-old filly.

Kimchi no longer is in Casse's care, but he has his usual solid outfit and will send out Sanibel and Silky Smooth in Sunday's $125,000 Star Shoot.

The Star Shoot, a six-furlong race for 3-year-old fillies, is the first local prep on the road to the June 10 Woodbine Oaks at 1 1/8 miles.

Sanibel, an Ontario-bred, is not eligible for the Oaks but can be supplemented at a cost of $2,500 by May 1 or for $12,500 on entry day. Silky Smooth is a Kentucky-bred.

Sanibel and Silky Smooth each is coming into the Star Shoot off a win at 6 1/2 furlongs, Sanibel's coming in a $62,500 maiden claimer at Gulfstream on Jan. 7 and Silky Smooth's in a maiden special weight race here April 8.

Sanibel, who had finished third in a "B" maiden special at five furlongs in her career debut last Nov. 26, was a six-length winner at Gulfstream, her second outing.

"She missed a little time after that last race," said Casse. "I've been trying to run her at Woodbine, but her races didn't go.

"I'm not sure she liked the Polytrack as much as she liked Gulfstream, but she's been training pretty good recently."

Silky Smooth started three times at 2, her best effort a second-place finish, and she was a convincing 2o3/4-length winner over the highly regarded Serenading in her 3-year-old debut.

"I think she beat a pretty good one," said Casse. "She finally ran the way we thought she was capable of running.

"We were pretty high on her from the get-go, but it was always one thing or another. If we can just keep her headed in the right direction, she could turn out to be a pretty good horse."

Sealy Hill, Casse's leading Woodbine Oaks candidate, remains on target for the Grade 1, $500,000 Kentucky Oaks over 1 1/8 miles at Churchill Downs on May 4.

Sealy Hill concluded a three-start campaign here last fall with an 8 1/4-length win in the seven-furlong Glorious Song. In her two outings this year, both at a mile, Sealy Hill finished second in a second-level allowance at Gulfstream, then won the Grade 3 Bourbonette at Turfway. Sealy Hill opened up in midstretch of the Bourbonette but hung on by a head.

"In her last race she pulled herself up pretty good after she made the lead," said Casse. "We're trying to get her to finish in her works. She's going to have to step up to the plate for the Kentucky Oaks."

Casse also hopes he has a Woodbine Oaks candidate in Lucas Street, who joined his string here recently.

In two starts last year, both for trainer David Bell, Lucas Street finished third in a 4 1/2-furlong maiden special on June 10 and was a close second in the five-furlong Shady Well on July 16. She came out of that race with an injury, Casse said.

Seaside Links earns high praise

Casse also has several possibilities for the $1 million Queen's Plate here June 24.

The 3-year-old Canadian-bred whom Casse favors most for the 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate - Seaside Links - is not eligible. Seaside Links can be supplemented to the Queen's Plate at a cost of $5,000 by May 1 or $25,000 on entry day.

"He's training as good as any horse I've ever had," said Casse. "He's a horse I've always liked, but he's run really spotty."

Seaside Links won his opener at 4o1/2 furlongs, but his best effort from five subsequent starts at 2 was a second-place finish behind subsequent Canadian 2-year-old champion Leonnatus Anteas in the Cup and Saucer over 1 1/16 miles of yielding turf here last Oct. 15.

In two starts since the Cup and Saucer, both at 1o1/8 miles, Seaside Links was unplaced here in the Coronation Futurity on Nov. 5 and in a first-level allowance at Gulfstream on Feb. 3 in which he had a difficult trip.

Marchfield, who finished second behind Leonnatus Anteas in the Coronation, also is coming off an unproductive run at Gulfstream in a 1 1/8-mile maiden race on March 3.

"He bled very badly, a 5 out of 5," said Casse. "I brought him to Ocala, and trained him, but I didn't breeze him for 45 days."

Marchfield had his first breeze back here last Sunday, going four furlongs in 48 seconds, a move that equaled the best of 77 workers at the distance.

"The real Marchfield showed back up the other day," said Casse. "I still think we can make the Plate with him. I think he can run with those horses."

Leonnatus Anteas behind schedule

Leonnatus Anteas, who was undefeated in three starts last year, is at Payson Park with trainer Kevin Attard and may be hard pressed to make the Plate.

"He's a little bit behind schedule," said Attard. "He just needed time.

"He's training nicely now. I'm happy with the way he's going. We're just taking it day to day, and see where it leads us.

Leonnatus Anteas is scheduled to arrive at Woodbine on Friday.

"Once I get him back to Canada and breeze him up at Woodbine I'll have a better assessment," he said.

He plans to be here Sunday to saddle Siwa, who will be his first starter of the meeting, in the Star Shoot.

Siwa started once at 2, winning an Ontario-sired maiden special at 4 1/2 furlongs in the slop on June 3.

"She's coming into this race in good shape," said Attard, who had Siwa at Payson Park for the winter. "I've been really happy with her. She's trained good enough to deserve a shot in this race."