05/18/2013 12:07PM

Woodbine: Casse saddles Paso Doble, Haverhill for New Providence

Michael Burns
Paso Doble wins the 2011 New Providence Stakes at Woodbine.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Trainer Mark Casse will saddle Paso Doble and Haverhill in the $125,000 New Providence Stakes, the contentious feature on the Victoria Day holiday Monday at Woodbine.

Paso Doble has a fine record in the six-furlong sprint for Ontario-sired runners. He prevailed in the 2011 New Providence and was a close second to favored Gypsy Ring in 2012, before going to the sidelines for nearly a year.

Paso Doble faded after tracking the early leaders when he resurfaced in an April 5 optional claimer at Keeneland. Most recently in the allowance prep for the New Providence, he came wide from a stalking position to lose by a nose to 50-1 outsider Executive Five.

Casse said Paso Doble missed most of 2012 due to an injury.

“He hurt himself last year,” Casse recalled. “He’s a big horse, and it takes some work to get him ready to go. I thought I had him a little tighter for the Keeneland race. Patrick Husbands rode him, and when he thought he was beaten, he didn’t beat him up.”

The well-traveled Haverhill was claimed for a bargain $16,000 from his last local appearance Dec. 1. He went on to run three straight big races on the dirt at Gulfstream and was sent to Casse after finishing third in an April 7 optional claimer at Santa Anita.

“After he ran at Gulfstream, Gary Barber bought him and sent him to California,” Casse recalled. “Gary and I were talking, and he thought the horse could do really well at Woodbine, and I said the only thing is ‘Is he a dirt horse?’ Peter Miller breezed him a couple times on the synthetic at Hollywood Park, and he went really well over it, so they sent him to us.”

Casse said he was impressed with Haverhill’s closing fourth in the five-furlong prep.

“I was concerned about him running five-eighths,” Casse said. “He got knocked around at the start, and if that hadn’t happened, he probably would have won. I think both horses will appreciate three-quarters versus five-eighths.”

In his first outing in seven months, multiple stakes winner Jenna’s Wabbit was favored in the prep, but he finished a flat seventh, much to the dismay of trainer Ralph Biamonte.

“We were really surprised,” Biamonte said. “He’d trained really well going into it. He didn’t break all that well, but he didn’t have any horse. He just stopped.”

Bear’s Peak upset Jenna’s Wabbit while capturing the seven-furlong Overskate Stakes on Sept. 22. He never started again until the April 28 prep, in which he checked in four lengths behind Executive Five in sixth.

Executive Five had the winter off after getting beaten double digits in a pair of lower claimers late in the fall. His come-from-behind score in the prep was hard to predict, although he did finish third in last year’s New Providence.