05/23/2011 2:23PM

Woodbine: Paso Doble finds a home with Casse

Michael Burns
Paso Doble wins Sunday’s $125,000 New Providence Stakes at Woodbine.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Paso Doble has not enjoyed much stability during his career, spending time in five different barns before being shipped to Mark Casse in Florida this year.

But it would appear that Paso Doble, a 5-year-old gelding who races for the Centennial Farm (Niagara) syndicate, has found a home based on his impressive victory here in last Sunday’s $125,000 New Providence Stakes.

Purchased by his current owners last fall, Paso Doble finished the season here and then was sent to Casse in Florida.

“I trained him all winter, and I really liked him,” Casse said. “He trained like a really good horse.”

Paso Doble disappointed in his debut for his new barn, however, as he finished seventh in the five-furlong Debut Stakes here on opening day.

“He had the No. 1 post, was away slowly, and just backed up,” Case said. “The bright spot was that he came running a little bit late. We learned that maybe he’d be a little bit better coming from out of it.”

Paso Doble displayed that style in his next start, in which he ran for the $62,500 claiming price in a second-level optional claimer at six furlongs. He rallied from midpack in the field of 12 to record a going-away, 2 3/4-length victory under Patrick Husbands.

In the New Providence, Paso Doble stalked the pace from third at the same distance and parlayed a well-timed move into a one-length score under Husbands, who was winning his meet-leading fifth stakes victory.

Now, with main-track sprint opportunities for Paso Doble being few and far between, Casse may be forced to improvise.

“It looks like he might go a little farther,” Casse said. “And I’d like to try him again on grass.”

Paso Doble has finished second in two of his three career turf outings, with one of those efforts coming in the restricted Vice Regent Stakes over one mile here in 2009.

Da Silva persistent to get Plate ride

Eurico Rosa da Silva has won the last two runnings of the Queen’s Plate, scoring with Eye of the Leopard in 2009 and with Big Red Mike last summer.

And now Da Silva, winner of the Sovereign Award as Canada’s outstanding rider last year, suddenly finds himself with a potential candidate for this year’s Queen’s Plate after guiding Queen’splatekitten to victory in last Saturday’s $171,600 Marine Stakes.

Da Silva had ridden Queens’platekitten to an impressive maiden victory at 1 1/16 miles here on Dec. 3 for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey and trainer Brian Lynch.

And while Queens’platekitten was purchased privately over the winter and now races for Nicholas Brady’s Mill House and trainer Todd Pletcher, Da Silva and his agent, Don Parente, kept their eyes on the prize.

Da Silva, who campaigned in New York this past winter, rode one horse for Pletcher there and broached the subject of Queens’platekitten.

“The horse was in my mind; I really liked the horse,” Da Silva said. “I told Todd Pletcher I was really interested in riding the horse and asked him to keep me in mind.”

Parente followed up with an e-mail to Pletcher about three weeks ago. A week later, the deal was sealed.

Da Silva kept up his end of the bargain in the 1 1/16-mile Marine, letting Queens’platekitten drop back to last and then come with a five-wide move on the far turn to take the lead and roll to a three-length victory.

“I’ve been in love with this horse, since the first time I rode him,” Da Silva said. “I love his style; it’s beautiful. I think a mile and a quarter will be no problem.”

The Queen’s Plate, a $1 million race for Canadian-bred 3-year-olds, will be run over 1 1/4 miles here June 26.

Pletcher looks to go 3 for 3

Pletcher is now 2 for 2 here this year after winning the May 14 Hendrie with Embur’s Song. His assistant, Ginny Dipasquale, has been on hand for the two invasions and is scheduled to return next weekend with Exhi for the Eclipse Stakes.

Bred in Kentucky, Exhi won last year’s Marine and returned to capture the Victoria Park Stakes over 1 1/8 miles.

The Eclipse, a 1 1/16-mile race for 4-year-olds and up, offers Grade 3 status and a purse of $150,000.

Oh Canada eyeing Queen’s Plate

Oh Canada, the only other Canadian-bred in the six-horse Marine field, was beaten 3 1/4 lengths as the third-place finisher.

“I thought his race was absolutely fine,” said Bob Tiller, who trains the homebred Oh Canada for Frank DiGiulio.

“I thought it was a troubled trip; I think he should have been no worse than second. The outside flow moved early, and he got in a pocket.

“He proved that he can go two turns and maybe the mile and a quarter of the Queen’s Plate. We’ll go in that direction.”

Court of the Realm back strong

Another highlight of the weekend was the return of Court of the Realm, who wound up his 2010 campaign on most future horses-to-watch lists and did not disappoint when an odds-on winner here Sunday.

Court of the Realm, a 4-year-old colt trained by Peter Berringer, had won his maiden in impressive fashion and romped through his next two conditions here last fall, earning an eye-catching Beyer Speed Figure of 98 in his final appearance.

Resurfacing under third-level allowance terms in an optional $80,000 claiming race Sunday, Court of the Realm took charge almost immediately and rolled to a 3 3/4-length victory under Da Silva.

Court of the Realm’s seven-furlong clocking of 1:22.15 yielded a 92 Beyer, exceeding Paso Doble’s 90 in the New Providence.

‘He’s been ready for a couple of weeks, but I couldn’t get the races to go for him,” said Berringer, who trains Court of the Realm for the partnership of Oxbridge Farm and Aurora Meadows.

Court of the Realm had been nominated to the upcoming weekend stakes, the Grade 2 Connaught Cup over seven furlongs of turf and the Eclipse over 1 1/16 miles of Polytrack, but Berringer was more than pleased when Sunday’s race attracted a quorum.

“I wanted a regular type of race before I tried the real tough ones, when he’d been off for almost seven months,” said Berringer, who had wintered Court of the Realm on his nearby farm in Rockwood, Ontario.

Stakes undoubtedly will be in Court of the Realm’s immediate future, but Berringer will be examining his options before determining a course of action.

“He’s bred for turf on both sides,” Berringer said. “He’s run all right on turf, and we’d try hard turf with him, but he runs much better on Polytrack.”