08/04/2008 11:00PM

Seaside Retreat beat the odds


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Seaside Retreat has always had talent, but that came with an attitude that may have kept him from realizing his full potential.

Finally, having exhausted all other avenues, Seaside Retreat's trainer, Mark Casse, called owner Bill Farish Jr. with a difficult proposition.

"I'd had a lot of trouble with the horse at 3," said Casse. "I called Bill and said, 'I know this is going to hurt, but this horse needs to be gelded.' "

Even after that, Seaside Retreat's troubles were not over.

After making just one start as a 4-year-old, at Gulfstream Park in the winter of 2007, Seaside Retreat went to the sidelines and was not seen again until this April.

"He had a couple of different injuries, and surgery," said Casse. "For him to come back the way he's come back, it's amazing."

These words were spoken after Casse had watched Seaside Retreat record the biggest win of his career here in Monday's Grade 2, $305,900 Nijinsky, a 1 1/4-mile turf stakes for 3-year-olds and upward in which he set a course record of 2:00.60.

The victory was the third this year for Seaside Retreat, who had won the off-the-turf prep for the Nijinsky at 1 1/4 miles here July 13 and an optional claimer at 1 1/8 miles on turf at Churchill Downs on May 10.

"I'd say he was a different horse now than he was at 2 and 3," said Casse, after watching Seaside Retreat press a slow pace under regular rider Patrick Husbands before moving to the lead and prevailing by a length in the Nijinsky. "He doesn't have the turn of foot he used to have; he just goes and goes.

"I felt pretty good when he was in front turning for home. I knew it was going to be tough to beat him."

Next up for Seaside Retreat will be the Grade 1, $750,000 Northern Dancer Breeders' Cup Turf, a 1 1/4-mile race that will be part of a blockbuster card along with the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile and the Grade 2 Canadian on Sept. 7.

The Northern Dancer is the major local stepping-stone to the $2 million Canadian International, a 1 1/2-mile turf race on Oct. 4 in which the winner will earn an automatic berth in the Breeders' Cup Turf.

Sangara and Richards's latest buys

Owner K.K. Sangara and trainer Lorne Richards have fared well in the past with their private 2-year-old purchases from Casse, with the grandmommy of them all being Financingavailable.

Sangara and Richards will look to continue that trend with Stranger Things and Shut It Down, a pair of Ontario-sired 2-year-olds they acquired from Casse the other week.

"I think they're both all right," said Richards. "Mark usually steers me in the right direction. He's been very good to us."

Stranger Things, a filly by Domasca Dan, and Shut It Down, a gelding by Porto Foricos, both finished second in their only start.

"I'm just going to feel them out," said Richards. "I'm not in any real hurry to run them. They both just ran recently, and ran well."

Financingavailable, purchased from Casse in the spring of 2004, went on to win 10 stakes and had banked a total of $1,333,779 when she was retired last fall.

Her accomplishments also included Sovereign Awards as Canada's outstanding filly and mare in 2006 and 2007, plus an outstanding sprinter award in that latter campaign.

Financingavailable, still owned by Sangara, is in Kentucky and is in foal to Smart Strike.

Other notables who came to Sangara and Richards via the Casse route have included Only If Split, who won the 2006 Muskoka in her first start for her new interests and finished second in the Ballade here this spring, and Oknothanksforaskn, who ran second in both the Marine and Victoria Park here in 2006 and was claimed away for $50,000 last fall.

Barn lost two promising claims

The Richards barn could use a boost right now following the recent deaths of Tiverton and Coosa, both of whom were claimed at Gulfstream Park this winter.

Tiverton, claimed for $60,000, was a very impressive winner under second-level allowance terms here June 21, but suffered a fatal allergic reaction to an injection of vitamins last month.

Coosa, claimed for $62,500, also died suddenly, but the cause will not be known until the results of a necropsy are released.

Several jocks draw three-day bans

Jockeys Eurico Rosa da Silva and Slade Callaghan both have been handed three-day suspensions, beginning Friday.

Da Silva's appeal of a suspension resulting from a June 13 race was denied by the Ontario Racing Industry Board of Appeal.

Da Silva's mount, Cobra Classic, had finished second in the seventh race that day but was placed fifth by the stewards, who ruled that he caused interference when coming in during the stretch run.

Callaghan withdrew his appeal of a suspension resulting from his ride aboard Deli Lama here July 25.

Deli Lama had finished second but was placed ninth after the stewards ruled the horse came in and interfered with horses during the run down the backstretch.

Tyler Pizarro and David Clark also will serve three-day suspensions after their appeals were denied.

Pizarro's ban will be in effect Aug. 10, 13, and 14, while Clark's runs Aug. 13-15.

The stewards had ruled that Pizarro, aboard second-place finisher Gold Ami, carried out eventual winner Volcano Alley during the stretch run of the eighth race here June 15.

Clark's suspension had been issued for his June 15 ride aboard Eeny Meeney, who finished second in the Zadracarta Stakes but was placed fifth after the stewards ruled she had interfered with a rival during the stretch run.