07/18/2013 11:17AM

Woodbine: Casse has two threats in Ontario Matron

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Michael Burns
Sisterly Love won the 1 1/16-mile Trillium Stakes in front-running style.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Trainer Mark Casse has two sharp horses for Saturday’s $150,000 Ontario Matron at Woodbine. Sisterly Love will be favored in the 1 1/16-mile route for fillies and mares, but Eagle Hall could be the sleeper in the Grade 3 stakes.

Sisterly Love was unbeaten in three starts in south Florida before finishing third Jan. 26 in the $400,000 Houston Ladies Classic Stakes, in her first start for Casse. After missing the board in two subsequent graded stakes, she took the 1 1/16-mile Trillium Stakes convincingly in front-running style under Eurico Rosa Da Silva here June 8.

“She’s a really talented horse,” Casse said. “She won her first three races on the lead, with nobody around her. The next thing you know, we threw her in against some of the best fillies in the country. Her lack of experience caught up with her. She got intimidated. Last time, I told Eurico to keep her away from horses, and you see what happened. We feel like she’s been training even better now than she was when she won. She’s grown up.”

Sisterly Love could have the speedy Maryland shipper Welcome Dance to deal with on the front end in the Matron.

Casse reckoned that if Welcome Dance “is bound and determined for the lead,” then Sisterly Love “can probably sit second.”

Eagle Hall is exiting back-to-back closing scores under Gary Boulanger, in a pair of optional claimers. The Beyer Speed Figures of 84 and 85 that she earned in those two outings should put her in the Matron mix.

“She’s a hard-knocker,” Casse said. “I thought her last race was really impressive. Gary said she was push-button and won in a gallop. I thought she deserved a chance. The race may set up for her. There’s definitely some speed.”

Yellow Boat is going long for the first time off two consecutive troubled runs where she was stuck in traffic for most of the journey. She managed to win the first of those races, an entry-level allowance, and was beaten just 1 1/4 lengths when she ran fourth in the seven-furlong Sweet Briar Too Stakes two weeks ago.

Yellow Boat is by stamina sire Lemon Drop Kid, and trainer Mark Frostad said he has no qualms with trying her around two turns.

“She’s a big, strong, rangy filly,” Frostad explained. “That should be right up her alley.”

Welcome Dance, a turf expert trained by Michael Matz, faded to trail a seven-horse field in her June 22 season opener, the Grade 3 All Along at Colonial Downs.

Layali Dubai ships in from Keeneland following a dominating victory in a 1 1/16-mile optional claimer on Arlington’s Polytrack. Eoin Harty trains the Godolphin runner.