Mark Casse, who has six Breeders’ Cup wins to his credit, will take at least four horses to Santa Anita for this year’s championships.
Get Smokin will run in the Turf by virtue of his win in the Grade 2 Kentucky Turf Cup, and Fev Rover is headed to the Filly & Mare Turf after winning the Beverly D. (G1) two starts back.
Casse also is taking a pair of juveniles, and he’ll know this weekend whether he’ll have other Breeders’ Cup runners. He told Horse Racing Nation on Tuesday that his crew will head to Santa Anita about five or six days before the races.
Casse, a hall of fame trainer in the U.S. and Canada, updated on his Breeders’ Cup candidates and others in his barn for the latest in HRN’s Barn Tour series.
Breeders’ Cup definites
Get Smokin. The Kentucky Turf Cup, where the 6-year-old gelding led at every call, was his second win in six starts this year, and it was his first start at 1 1/2 miles. He also finished second in the Wise Dan (G2) and Arlington (G3). Casse said he was a little surprised by the win, “but he's such a determined horse. It was an amazing race for him, and he definitely deserves to try in the Breeders’ Cup. We realize that it's going to be extremely tough, but we're going to go to the lead like, catch me if you can.”
Fev Rover. Four weeks after her Beverly D. win, Fev Rover finished fourth in the Canadian (G2) at Woodbine, and she’ll come back Sunday in the E.P. Taylor (G1). Casse said the Canadian “wasn't a real focus for me. It was just, I didn't want to go into the E.P. Taylor off of two months. So, I said, well, we'll go here, and then that should move her forward. And so we're in a good place. She's training very well. I expect a big effort out of her in the E.P. Taylor, and it should set her up well for the Breeders Cup.”
My Boy Prince. With a record of 4: 2-2-0, including a second last out in the Summer (G1), the 2-year-old son of Cairo Prince is headed to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. Before the Summer, he won the black-type Simcoe Stakes by 14 lengths.
Go With Gusto. The Medaglia d’Oro filly has yet to win in two starts, but with a third-place finish against colts in the Summer, she’s headed to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Breeders’ Cup possibles
Webslinger. Second by a head last out in the Saratoga Derby Invitational (G1), the 3-year-old Constitution gelding will run in Jockey Club Derby (G3) at Aqueduct on Saturday. “We're expecting a big effort out of him. A big effort could land him in the Breeders’ Cup, but we'll see.” His biggest win this year came in the American Turf (G2) on the Kentucky Derby undercard.
Sierra Sky. The Uncle Mo filly finished strongly to come in second in her debut on Sept. 3. She’s entered in Wednesday’s Miss Grillo (G2), a win-and-you’re-in for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. “She ran amazing to me in her first start. Obviously, we know Kentucky Downs is a tricky racetrack to run on, and she kind of got away a little slow, dropped back to last. And I was disappointed. I was like, well, she's not going to run any good. She came flying late, ran around everybody. I thought it was pretty impressive. So I'm treating her like she won. I think she ran a winning race. And I think she deserves a shot. She's trained well since getting to New York.”
Time to Dazzle. The daughter of Not This Time won her Sept. 17 debut and is entered in Friday’s Jessamine (G2) at Keeneland, an automatic qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. “She was really impressive. A filly race didn't go, for maidens, so I ran up against colts. She won impressively and ran fast, got a good number. It's a little quick back for her, but it's another chance to possibly get to the Breeders' Cup, so we want to give her an opportunity.”
Can Group. The Good Samaritan colt broke his maiden on third try on Sept. 2 at Kentucky Downs and is entered in Sunday's Bourbon Stakes (G2), a win-and-you’re-in for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.
Olympic Runner. The 7-year-old gelding, fourth last out in the Turf Sprint (G2) at Kentucky Downs, is entered in the Woodford (G2) Saturday at Keeneland. Before the Turf Sprint, he won an optional-claiming allowance at Colonial Downs. “He's run two big races back to back. He ran a great race at Colonial and then he came back, he was flying, kind of got sucked back a little at the start and made up a ton of ground.”
Papilio. The 3-year-old filly is coming off back-to-back third-place finishes in the Saratoga Oaks Invitational (G3) and the Belmont Oaks Invitational (G1). She’ll start next in the QE II Challenge Cup (G1) at Keeneland on Oct. 14.
Lucky Score. The 5-year-old gelding has finished in the money in his last eight starts, mostly graded stakes, and was third last out in the Woodbine Mile (G1). He’ll start next in the Nearctic (G2) on Sunday at Woodbine.