Preakness Stakes 2017: Classic Empire Arrives with Casse Crew
May 15, 2017 08:59am

By mid-morning Monday, the Mark Casse-trained contingent of stakes horses – led by Preakness Stakes 2017 (G1) contender Classic Empire – had settled into Barn D at historic Pimlico Race Course following a 4 a.m. arrival at Old Hilltop.


The Casse crew consists of horses running in six of the 15 stakes to be contested on Preakness weekend, five of them as part of Friday’s Black-Eyed Susan Day program including Summer Luck and Corporate Queen entered in the featured event for 3-year-old fillies.


Also entered Friday are defending champion Noble Bird in the $300,000 Xpressbet Pimlico Special (G3) and Grade 1 winners Pretty City Dancer in the Miss Preakness and Victory to Victory in the $100,000 Hilltop. Joining Classic Empire on Saturday’s Preakness undercard will be World Approval and possibly Conquest Typhoon in the $250,000 Longines Dixie (G2).


“Today they’ll just settle. They’ve already walked this morning, just like you would if you were traveling. You want to move around,” Norm Casse, his father’s top assistant, said. “Then we’ll come back and we’ll get them out at feed time again and walk them. It’s perfect. It’s a nice little travel day where they settle in.


“Basically right now you want to look and see how they’re acclimating,” he added. “All the horses seem to be really happy and they’re in their feed tubs already, so obviously the ship didn’t take anything out of them.”


Casse said it will be an easy week for his group as they put the final touches on their weekend preparations, having finished the serious groundwork before leaving Churchill Downs for Pimlico.


“They’ll just have routine gallops, nothing fancy. All the hard work’s done now up to the races,” he said. “Probably the one I’m most excited about is Victory to Victory for the Hilltop. She’s coming out of an allowance race but she’s already a Grade 1 winner. We’re putting her back in stakes company and she’s been training really well. That’s probably the most exciting prospect.”

Source: Maryland Jockey Club


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