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Woodbine: Casse wins seventh stakes at meet, loses some Melnyk-owned horses
ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Trainer Mark Casse sent out his meet-leading seventh stakes winner here Wednesday evening as Queen Street Beach captured the $125,000 Deputy Minister for Ontario-sired 3-year-olds.
Queen Street Beach, a homebred who races for Eugene Melnyk, was running his record to 3 for 3 after beginning his career June 24.
“I think he’s a nice horse,” Casse said. “I was a little concerned. He puts a lot into his races, and it was his third race in five weeks. I think he’ll need a little break after this race.”
Despite Queen Street Beach’s success, Casse’s mood was not entirely celebratory Thursday morning as Melnyk, who has been one of his most valued clients, has elected to move a number of horses to other trainers.
Dene Court, a promising 2-year-old filly who won her maiden first out and then finished a solid second here in the Shady Well, is going to Todd Pletcher at Saratoga along with Clement Rock, a 3-year-old colt who has won back-to-back turf stakes here.
James Street, an up-and-coming 4-year-old colt who is coming off a second-place finish here in the Grade 3 Dominion Day, and Silver Rock, a 4-year-old gelding who has blossomed on the turf and was a close fourth here in last Sunday’s Grade 2 Nijinsky, are moving down to trainer Josie Carroll’s barn.
Casse will soldier on, however, and has no shortage of prospects for the stakes races here this weekend, with Delightful Mary entered in Saturday’s $150,0000 Duchess, Spooky Kitten and Thistoo Shall Pass in Sunday’s $250,000 Wonder Where, and Making Amends in Sunday’s $150,000 Vandal.
Delightful Mary, whose last start was a seventh-place finish in Keeneland’s Grade 1 Ashland at 1 1/16 miles on April 9, will be cutting back to seven furlongs for the Duchess, which is an open race for 3-year-old fillies.
“I think seven furlongs is actually a great distance for her,” said Casse, who trains the Florida-bred Delightful Mary for owner John Oxley.
“She finished third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and won a 1 1/16-mile stakes in Ocala, but I’m not sure she’s really a two-turn horse. She kind of makes a middle move and then flattens out a little bit, so I thought we’d cut her back and sprint her.
“I’m excited to get her back racing, but I’m worried that I haven’t done enough with her.”
Spooky Kitten will be trying turf for the first time in the Wonder Where, which is a 1 1/4-mile race for Canadian-bred 3-year-old fillies.
“She’s bred to like it,” Casse said. “And looking at her action, the way she moves over the synthetic, I think it should suit her.”
Spooky Kitten, who was purchased privately by Roddy Valente and joined Casse’s string here this spring, was beaten just a half-length by Inglorious as the runner-up in the 1 1/8-mile Woodbine Oaks and then finished three-quarters of a length behind Bear It’s Time when third in the 1 1/16-mile Bison City.
“I don’t think the mile and a quarter will be an issue at all,” Casse said. “She just goes and goes, like the Energizer Bunny.”
Thistoo Shall Pass, owned by Casse in partnership with his wife, Tina, was an impressive maiden winner over 1 1/8 miles of turf in her last start here July 9.
“It’s a big jump up for her; I’m not so sure she can handle it,” Casse said. “But I know she’ll handle a mile and a quarter, she likes the turf, and it’s not so often you get to run for $250,000.”
Making Amends, owned by the Casses, Harvey Swartz, and Richard Lederman, scored first crack out in the 5 1/2-furlong Clarendon for Ontario-foaled 2-year-olds and will be competing against the same sort in the six-furlong Vandal.
Isabella Bay taking a shot in stakes
Isabella Bay finished a decent third when she tried the turf for the first time in the one-mile Ontario Damsel here July 9.
On Sunday, Isabella Bay will be stretching out to 1 1/4 miles and looms a possible upsetter in the Wonder Where.
“She didn’t run badly last time,” said Ian Howard, who trains the homebred Isabella Bay for her breeder Don Ross and partners.
“She was a little green – she was rank early and came off the bridle. But she finished well enough, and she’s been training really well since then. For $250,000, we’ll give it a shot.”
Isabella Bay was an off-the-pace winner of last fall’s South Ocean, a 1 1/16-mile race for Ontario-sired 2-year-old fillies, but her other two career victories have come in front-running fashion around two turns.
“She’s better when she shows speed,” said Howard, “and I can’t imagine she’s enough of a threat that anybody would be worried about her on Sunday. “When she can slow the pace down, she relaxes well enough.”
Resentless retired from racing
Resentless, Isabella Bay’s 4-year-old half-sister, has been retired.
An Ontario-foaled daughter of Trajectory, Resentless had won the seven-furlong Fury Stakes in her seasonal bow here last spring but was unplaced in just three subsequent outings, including the recent Sweet Briar Too Stakes.
“She switched leads at the five-eighths pole and was done by the three-sixtennths pole,” said Howard, who had watched Resentless falter to finish last of seven in the seven-furlong overnight stakes.
“I think something probably was bugging her up high. She came out of the race not very good.
“It looked like she was going to need a lot of time, and it made more sense to retire her.”
Resentless also won the 1 1/16-mile Ontario Lassie and finished second in the Princess Elizabeth at the same distance in her first campaign. She retires with a record of 3-1-1 and earnings of almost $300,000 from nine starts.
Howard said that Ross plans to breed Resentless, with her first mate to be determined.
Court of the Realm works for Connaught Cup
Court of the Realm breezed four furlongs in 47.20 seconds under exercise rider Ricky Browne here Thursday morning in preparation for next Saturday’s $150,000 Connaught Cup over 1 1/16 miles of Polytrack. A 4-year-old colt trained by Peter Berringer, Court of the Realm is working on a five-race win streak dating back to September and made a successful turf and stakes debut in the one-mile Grade 2 King Edward here June 25.
Berringer caught Court of the Realm galloping out five furlongs in 1:00 and is planning a five-furlong work for Tuesday.
Inglorious also worked Thursday, breezing five furlongs in 59.20 under Luis Contreras as Carroll continues her preparations for Saratoga’s Grade 1 Alabama on Aug. 20.