11/02/2012 11:58AM

Woodbine: Dixie Strike looks strong on home front for Casse in Maple Leaf


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Trainer Mark Casse has been at Santa Anita since Monday, preparing for his five-pronged assault on the Breeders' Cup races.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Casse assistant David Adams has been putting the finishing touches on Dixie Strike as she looks to give the barn its 20th stakes victory of the Woodbine meeting here in Saturday's $175,000 Maple Leaf.

Dixie Strike, an Ontario-bred 3-year-old, would be facing older fillies and mares for the first time in the Maple Leaf, a 1 1/4-mile race that attracted a field of 10.

Owned by John Oxley, Dixie Strike competed in all three legs of Canada's triple crown, finishing third here in the 1 1/4-mile Queen's Plate and winning the 1 3/16-mile Prince of Wales over Fort Erie's dirt course before finishing up the track here in the Breeders' at 1 1/2 miles on turf.

In her last start, which came at Parx Racing on Sept. 22, Dixie Strike finished third behind Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic contenders My Miss Aurelia and Questing.

"She's had a little bit of a break - not that she needed it, but there hasn't been anywhere else to run her," said Casse.
"She's good. It's all systems go."

Casse also entered Sky High Lady, a 3-year-old who was bred in Kentucky by her owner, Oxley.

"She'll like the mile and a quarter," said Casse.

Omar Moreno, who rode Masked Maiden to victory for Casse in last year's Maple Leaf, has been named on both Dixie Strike and Sky High Lady.

Moment of Majesty and Stars to Shine both are returning to Polytrack after finishing seventh and ninth, respectively, in the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes over 1 1/4 miles on turf  here Oct. 16.

"I thought she ran a tremendous race in the E.P. Taylor," said Sue Leslie, trainer and part-owner of Moment of Majesty.

"'She got beat 3 1/2 lengths for all of it. There was a little bit of congestion on the first turn, and she did lack a bit of racing room the last sixteenth of a mile."
Stars to Shine, conditioned by Mark Frostad, tired to finish ninth in the E.P. Taylor but was beaten just 4 1/2 lengths.

Gerry Olguing retains the mount on Moment of Majesty, while Stars to Shine will have her usual pilot, Alex Solis, at the controls.

Both mares have won stakes on Polytrack here this year, with Moment of Majesty capturing the 1 1/16-mile Belle Mahone and Stars to Shine taking the 1 1/8-mile Trillium and the Grade 3, 1 1/16-mile Ontario Matron earlier this summer.

Smart Sting has been racing on turf for trainer Roger Attfield but won the 1 1/16-mile Selene, a Grade 3 stakes for 3-year-olds, in her only try on Polytrack here last fall.
Eurico Rosa da Silva gets the call on Smart Sting, while Emma-Jayne Wilson will ride her stakes-placed stablemate Smart Penny.

Moonlit Beauty, coming off back-to-back stakes wins here in restricted 1 1/16-mile stakes on turf and then Polytrack, will be looking to stretch out her speed in this tougher company with Jesse Campbell in the irons.