09/09/2007 11:00PM

Casse trio proves a cash crop

EmailETOBICOKE, Ontario - Last year, trainer Mark Casse sent out Sprung and Quiet Action to run one-two in the Grade 3 Natalma here at Woodbine.

While it seemed unlikely that Casse could top that feat, he did just that when Clearly Foxy, Nite in Rome, and Lickety Lemon finished 1-2-3 in Sunday's renewal of the one-mile turf race for 2-year-old fillies.

The sweep netted Casse $146,500 of the $162,000 purse, with all but $30,000 of that going to the account of Charles Laloggia, who owns both Clearly Foxy and Lickety Lemon.

Clearly Foxy, a Kentucky-bred, now is undefeated in two starts, both on the turf.

"I've always thought she actually likes Polytrack better," said Casse.

Clearly Foxy could try that surface in the Grade 3, $250,000 Mazarine, a 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-old fillies here Sept. 29.

Officer Cherrie, another Kentucky-bred whom Casse trains for Laloggia, won the six-furlong Ontario Debutante in her last start here Aug.o18. She was scratched from the Natalma and also is a candidate for the Mazarine.

Nite in Rome, owned by Bill Farish Jr., will be pointing for the $250,000 Princess Elizabeth, a 1 1/16-mile race for Canadian-bred 2-year-old fillies here Oct. 20.

Lickety Lemon, a Kentucky-bred, suffered her first defeat in three outings, all on turf, as the odds-on favorite in the Natalma, and her immediate plans are uncertain.

"She wasn't herself," said Casse.

Casse takes aim at juvenile stakes

Casse, who leads the trainer standings here with 46 wins, also is the leading stakes-winning trainer, with 10 tallies, and will be looking to add to that total next weekend.

On Saturday, Casse will send out Turf War, a maiden winner at seven furlongs in his second start, in the $125,000 Swynford, a seven-furlong race for 2-year-olds.

Casse also will be represented in the weekend's other 2-year-old stakes, as he intends to start both Briarwood Circle and Brickyard Crossing in Sunday's Grade 3, $250,000 Summer over a mile on turf.

Briarwood Circle won his debut at six furlongs on turf and then finished second in the seven-furlong allowance prep for the Summer, which was taken off the grass.

Brickyard Crossing ended second in a maiden special at six furlongs on turf in his only start.

The barn's biggest race will be Sunday's Grade 2, $300,000 Canadian, a 1 1/8-mile turf stakes in which the multiple stakes winner Sealy Hill will face older fillies and mares for the first time.

Sealy Hill, owned and bred by Eugene and Laura Melnyk, won the 1 1/4-mile Wonder Where when facing fellow Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies in her turf debut here July 28.

"This is a test, to see where she places herself," said Casse, indicating that Sealy Hill's performance will determine her course for the balance of the season.

Sealy Hill had her final major tune-up for the Canadian here Saturday with a five-furlong breeze in 59 seconds, by far the best of 64 works at the distance.

She's Indy Money at right distance

She's Indy Money struck gold again here last Saturday in the Grade 3 Seaway, collecting $90,000 for her second straight victory in a filly-mare stakes.

A Kentucky-bred 4-year-old owned by Live Oak Plantation and trained by Malcolm Pierce, She's Indy Money won the Ontario Matron at 1 1/16 miles here July 22 and has been under consideration for the Belle Mahone at the same distance Aug. 18.

"I had to decide what was her best distance," said Pierce. "I think maybe we found it. There wasn't much pace, and she still came with a big kick."

The six-furlong Ontario Fashion and the seven-furlong Bessarabian, both ungraded, are the only sprint stakes remaining on the filly-mare schedule here, and Pierce probably will be shopping for a spot south of the border.

"She's got a graded stakes win under her belt, and the Bessarabian doesn't really mean anything to her," said Pierce.

Sterwins steering clear of Mile

Pierce has Elle Runaway on go for Sunday's Canadian and Sterwins on hold for the same afternoon's Gradeo1, $1 million Woodbine Mile.

Elle Runaway, a 5-year-old mare owned by Live Oak, has suffered through a 16-race drought since taking the Ontario Colleen here Sept. 3, 2005, but was a good third in last year's Canadian and second in the Aug. 24 prep for this year's edition.

Sterwins, a 4-year-gelding who became a stakes winner in the With Approval at 1 1/8 miles on turf here last time out, is owned by Eugene and Laura Melnyk, who are planning be represented by the Todd Pletcher-trained Host in the Woodbine Mile.

Pierce said Sterwins, who breezed five furlongs in 1:00 here Sunday morning, would start only if Host didn't.

Sterwins has a viable option in the Grade 2, $300,000 Sky Classic, a 1o3/8-mile turf race here Sept. 23.