Casse-trained Moon Colony scores first stakes win in Penn Mile

May 28, 2019 08:25pm

Mark Casse gave Moon Colony a five-month layoff before his start Saturday in the Grade 2, $500,000 Penn Mile.

The well-rested 3-year-old responded by coming strong along the Penn National rail to claim his first stakes victory.

Moon Colony broke from the No. 1 post and stayed on the inside, stalking the leaders into the race’s second turn.

He then ran down each of the bettors’ top four picks – first Forty Under, then Casa Creed, then favorite A Thread of Blue (7-5) and finally Real News – to earn the win.

"By the half-mile pole I was just cruising behind them," said winning jockey Julien Leparoux. "I just needed room. The draw worked out perfect because the 2 the 3 and 4 were favorites, so I was behind good horses, and it just opened up for me. It was a perfect trip.”

Trained by Casse and owned by John Oxley, Moon Colony paid $21.60 to win. He’s the son of Uncle Mo and a half-brother to multiple-graded stakes winner Cavorting, who earned more than $2 million in her career.

"Tonight's a big night at Churchill Downs," Casse said of Leparoux's home track, "and he's one of the leading riders there right now, and to give up a big night of racing to ride a 10-1 shot tells you something." 

Moon Colony now has three victories in seven starts. His other two wins came last October in a maiden special weight race at Keeneland and at a Fair Grounds allowance event in November.

Moon Colony's last start before Saturday came Jan. 5 in the Kitten's Joy Stakes at Gulfstream Park, where he finished fifth.

"He's a pretty good horse," Casse said. "He was kind of an underachiever early on. I thought his last race at Gulfstream was really good. We brought him home to our training center (in Ocala, Fla.) and I saw a different horse. I thought he'd run really well.”

Casa Creed was second Saturday, followed by Real News. A Thread of Blue, second last time out in Churchill Downs’ American Turf (G2), tired in the stretch and ran fourth.

Top runners exiting the Penn Mile can look forward to the New York Racing Association's Turf Trinity for 3-year-olds on grass. The new series begins July 6 with the Belmont Derby Invitational (G1).


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