09/12/2013 2:10PM

Woodbine: Casse has four for Natalma Stakes

Michael Burns
Appreciating won her career debut by 1 1/2 lengths on turf at Woodbine on Aug. 23.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Woodbine’s leading trainer, Mark Casse, has won the Grade 2 Natalma Stakes four times and will try to win it for the third year in a row Saturday with the quartet of Appreciating, Madly Truly, My Conquestadory, and Spring Likeacobra. A one-mile turf route for 2-year-old fillies, the $200,000 Natalma is a Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In qualifier for the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Appreciating should be among the favorites off her dazzling debut in a seven-furlong maiden special weight race on the lawn Aug. 23. After awaiting room in midstretch, she came charging from midpack to prevail under a hand ride in a quick 1:22.59. She proceeded to gallop out strongly, suggesting that a mile will be right up her alley.

“Every time I watched the replay, I thought she was going to get beat,” Casse said. “She had trained exceptionally well in Florida. She was always considered as part of our ‘A’ team. We brought her up and didn’t let her do a whole lot at Woodbine, which is probably why she paid” 8-1.

Madly Truly graduated in her second time out before ending up third in the Ontario Debutante Stakes. Casse said he was impressed with her recent work on grass in preparation for her turf debut.

“When we breezed her on the turf, she moved really nicely over it,” Casse said. “She’s been a little disappointing to me. She hasn’t run the way she’s trained yet.”

Casse, who won the 2006 Natalma with the debuting longshot Sprung, is high on the unraced My Conquestadory, a daughter of Artie Schiller who sold for $240,000 as a juvenile.

“She’s trained maybe the best of any 2-year-old filly we have,” Casse said. “She’s worked phenomenal on the synthetic. She can do anything.”

Spring Likeacobra earned her diploma in a six-furlong maiden special weight race Aug. 3, when she changed surfaces to the grass. She is by Spring At Last, the sire of last year’s Natalma winner, Spring Venture.

“She looks more like a sprinter type,” Casse said. “She’s trained good, and I think deserves a chance.”

Ready to Act, a New York shipper trained by Chad Brown, should be strongly backed off her closing debut score in a turf sprint at Saratoga on July 22. A daughter of More Than Ready, she is the first foal from Always Auditioning, who is a full sister to Grade 1 winner Mast Track.

Trainer Roger Attfield, who won the 1993 Natalma with Alywow, entered Unspurned and Llanarmon.

Unspurned eked out a victory at first asking in a seven-furlong maiden special weight race on Polytrack on Aug. 17. The daughter of the good turf sire Lemon Drop Kid is the first foal from a stakes winner on dirt.

“I like her a whole lot,” Attfield said. “I don’t see any reason why she wouldn’t like the turf.”

Llanarmon missed the break before closing wide for third when she debuted against Appreciating.

“I think she’s got a good career ahead of her,” Attfield said.

Stakes winner Skylander Girl is trying turf for the first time following a dull effort in the restricted Muskoka Stakes.

Spanish Flower and My Conquestadory both were cross-entered in Saturday’s co-feature, the Grade 2 Summer.