01/10/2013 3:33PM

Tampa Bay Downs: Casse wants to test Dynamic Sky in Pasco Stakes

Michael Burns
Dynamic Sky wins the restricted Simcoe Stakes at Woodbine. He held his own against top company in his final starts as a 2-year-old, the Breeders' Futurity and the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

OLDSMAR, Fla. – On Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs, 3-year-olds will take what their connections hope are the first steps to the Grade  2 Tampa Bay Derby and Grade 3 Florida Oaks when they go postward in the $100,000 Pasco and $100,000 Gasparilla Stakes, both at seven furlongs.

The Pasco, which drew a field of 10, including an entry, is the first in a series of 3-year-old stakes offered at the Tampa meeting. Next on the slate is the Grade 3, $250,000 Sam F. Davis on Feb. 2, followed by the $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby on March 9. Both the Davis and Tampa Bay Derby are part of the Road to the Kentucky Derby points system.

Mark Casse has been active in 3-year-old races here in recent years. Last season, he sent out Prospective to take the Pasco, finish second in the Sam Davis, and win the Tampa Bay Derby.

This season, Casse’s top 3-year-old is Uncaptured, but he has several other young runners – including Pasco entrant Dynamic Sky – who have shown promise.

“I’ve got three or four who are right on the cusp of being good horses,” Casse said from Palm Meadows, “and Dynamic Sky is one of those.

“He had a pretty troubled trip in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and also didn’t have the best of trips or he may well have won the Breeders’ Futurity for us at Keeneland.”

The Pasco will be Dynamic Sky’s first race since his sixth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

“When we got him back from the Juvenile, he was a little sick for a couple of weeks and it took him a bit of time to bounce back from that,” Casse said. “If we’re going to find out if he’s top-flight material, we’ve got to get him back to racing, so that’s why he’s in the Pasco. I don’t really think seven furlongs is his best distance, but, like I said, it’s time to take those first steps, and this is one of those.”

Dynamic Sky finished third in the restricted Vandal Stakes at Woodbine in his career debut. He then captured the restricted Simcoe before finishing a close second to Joha in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland. In the BC Juvenile, he had traffic problems several times under Luis Contreras.

Undefeated Purple Egg is slated to make his fourth career start in the Pasco and is the horse to catch. Trained by Jane Cibelli, Purple Egg won his first two races at Monmouth and Parx Racing, then came off a three-month break to win the Inaugural here at Tampa Bay Downs.

His connections were looking at several stakes at Gulfstream Park for his next start before he was sidelined for a short time with a minor illness. He indicated his readiness for the Pasco with a sharp 47.20-second breeze last Sunday.

Mind Spell, who looked sharp winning a prep for the Pasco last time out, is another top contender along with Falling Sky, whose lone defeat in three career starts came at the hands of Purple Egg when fourth in the Inaugural.

Hard to Name, from the John Servis barn, has been no worse than second in his four main-track starts.

Lightning Stone is a New York-bred who comes into the Pasco off two runaway wins over the turf here and at Belmont Park.

Divine Ambition romped home by eight lengths in his lone career start at Turfway Park for trainer Eric Reed and has been training forwardly at Payson Park for his first start since September.

Gasparilla: Martha’s Moon is quick

Martha’s Moon, winner of the Blue Hen Stakes at Delaware Park and Catcharisingstar Stakes at Calder, should be the speed of the 11-horse Gasparilla.

Cotton Pickin, a winner of two of four liftetime starts on the turf, served notice she can handle the main track when she worked a strong half-mile in 48.40 last Saturday.

This Is How, from the Graham Motion barn, is an intruiging entrant in the Gasparilla. She is the first foal out of $184,000 earner Saoirse Cat, who is a half-sister to $237,000 earner and six-time winner Autobahn Girl and Home and Chic, a $442,000 earner and Grade 3 winner