|Trainer Mark Casse with|
Owner John C. Oxley
Friday, July 5, 2013
TORONTO – It's the one race in Canada that has eluded him in 35 years of training thoroughbreds.
Five-time Sovereign Award winning trainer Mark Casse has achieved almost everything possible when it comes to thoroughbred racing in Canada. The one missing victory in a training career approaching 10,000 starts is a win in the Queen’s Plate, Canada’s most famous horse race.
The first leg of Canada's triple crown on Sunday afternoon at Woodbine Racetrack will be the 154th running of the $1 million race and Casse will send four starters to the gate seeking that elusive first Plate victory. He is winless in 13 attempts at capturing the Gallop for the Guineas with his best finish being a second place result in 2011 with 61-1 shot Hippolytus.
Last year he thought he had a solid shot at getting the monkey off his back with his filly Dixie Strike, who came back to win the Prince of Wales Stakes at Fort Erie after finishing third in the Plate. "I decided after last year when I thought I had good shot to win it, that I'm not making any more predictions. I'm starting to feel like Todd Pletcher does in the Kentucky Derby," said Casse.
His two top chances are owned by John C. Oxley, who four years ago started using Casse regularly with much success. The filly Spring in the Air has faced top competition, including three Grade 1 fields over the past year, looks to have a big shot at getting Casse into the Plate winner's circle. "Of all four of the horses, the horse training the best so far is Spring in the Air. If she could come up with the effort she gave in the [Grade 1] Alcibiades last year, she may be our best chance."