06/29/2011 12:32PM

Woodbine: James Street stepping up for Dominion Day Stakes


ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Woodbine’s leading trainer, Mark Casse, will saddle James Street and So Elite in Friday’s $200,000 Dominion Day Stakes, the competitive feature on the nine-race Canada Day holiday card, which begins at 2 p.m.

The Grade 3 Dominion Day, a 1 1/4-mile Polytrack event, has lured a diverse 11-horse field. Among them are several accomplished runners from south of the border, most notably Stately Victor, but when you consider the disappointing results from American shippers here in recent stakes, it might be wise to concentrate on the local contingent.

James Street, a 4-year-old who developed slowly, won both of his allowance outings here in the spring under Patrick Husbands.

Casse said he believes that James Street may be an up-and-comer on the local scene.

“His last two races were really powerful,” Casse explained. “He had to overcome a lot in his last start. Patrick’s really high on him. He thinks he’s the best older horse around on the Polytrack. We’re going to let him prove it. It’s a big jump.”

So Elite was a wide-closing fourth traveling 1 1/16 miles in his last race here in the Grade 3 Eclipse Stakes.

Casse was content with the way that both horses are coming into the Dominion Day, and he said they should both relish the 1 1/4 miles.

“Both have been training well, and they look well,” Casse said. “The distance is not a problem. In fact, So Elite is hindered by shorter distances. I’ve named Patrick on both, and he can choose who he wants to ride.”

Kentucky invader Stately Victor, the 126-pound highweight, captured the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes last year at Keeneland. In his lone local appearance last September, he won the nine-furlong Ontario Derby going away over So Elite, but Stately Victor is winless in six starts since then. He came up empty last time in the Grade 1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic at Churchill.

Victor Lebron will ride Stately Victor for trainer Mike Maker.

Don Cavallo came from third to finish second in the Eclipse, under Luis Contreras. He has never run beyond 1 1/16 miles.

Laureate Conductor won a recent optional claimer here on the grass, from which he was claimed for $62,500 by Bear Stable.

Longboarder led throughout each of his two most recent excursions, in an allowance over Keeneland’s Polytrack and an optional claimer on the grass at Delaware.