One year late, coach Mark Casse gets his Hall pass


SARATOGA SPRINGS – It took a whole year, but there are no complaints from coach Mark Casse.

Casse, 60, will be officially inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame on Friday morning in a ceremony that begins at 10:30 a.m. at the Fasig-Tipton Pavilion. The event is free and open to the public.

Junkyard was supposed to go there last year, but the Class of 2020 ceremony – which also includes former jockey Darrel McHargue, two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan, yesteryear Tom Bowling and Pillars of the Turf Alice Headley Chandler, J Keene Daingerfield Jr. and George D. Widener Jr. – has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

They join the 2021 class of trainer Todd Pletcher, steeplechase trainer Jack Fisher and 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.

“I had a lot of time to prepare,” Casse said with a smile outside his barn on the back stretch of Saratoga. “I’m just happy to be here. When all you’ve ever wanted is to train horses, is there a bigger goal, really? I never realized how great it was. hard to get in until I’m in the Hall of Fame. “

Casse, who was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame in 2016, won 3,122 races during his career, which saw him win his first race in 1979. His runners won over 190 million dollars and he won this year’s Will and Belmont’s Preakness with War 2019 with Sir Winston.

His best known horse is Tepin, who won the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2016 and the Breeders ‘Cup Mile against bulls in 2015. Casse has won five Breeders’ Cup races.

“There have been so many horses that you wouldn’t have heard of that have changed my career and my life,” said Casse. “A superstar, who time and time again did things that no one else could do, was Tepin.”

In a new barn

Art Collector, who won the Blue Grass Stakes last year and finished fourth in the Preakness, will make his first start for Hall of Fame coach Bill Mott in Friday’s $ 120,000 Alydar. Owned by Bruce Lunsford, Bernardini’s son was transferred to Mott by coach Tommy Drury after a sixth place finish at Kelly’s Landing in Churchill Downs on June 25.

“He’s a good horse,” Mott said Thursday morning. “He was in good shape when he came to see me, he should be good to go. He’s doing well, his jobs are good and it’s nice to be there.”

Art Collector has worked three times in Saratoga, the latest being a four-meter movement in 49.78 seconds on July 31.

The bird stone

Lone Rock, a 6-year-old gelding, continued his brilliant season with a four-length victory in the 11th Annual Birdstone of $ 120,000, named in honor of the winner of the 2004 Travers Stakes.

It was the fourth consecutive victory for the son of Majestic Warrior. Lone Rock just doesn’t win, he dominates. The combined margin of victory in the four wins is 25 3/4 lengths. It was the first time he had tried the 1 3/4 mile marathon distance. It didn’t seem to matter. As the race progressed, Long Rock, which was ridden by Ramon Vasquez, got stronger.

“He loves it,” said coach Robertino Diodoro. “He ran like he trained. He trained like a monster and it’s always nice when they train like a monster in the morning and go out in the afternoon and do the same. quite proud of him. “

Lone Rock, the 4-5 favorite, second behind race leader Moretti for much of the race, took the lead as the field rallied into the stretch for the second time. He shot clear to win as he walked away. He was clocked in 2: 56.45 and paid $ 3.70, $ 3.10, and $ 2.30.

Shooger Ray Too, at 22-1, was second for Joel Rosario and Moretti and Irad Ortiz Jr. was third.

Horse mortality

Butter Lou, making her career debut, won race six, but the 2-year-old colt never reached the winner’s circle. After the 5 1/2 stadium race on the Mellon Turf course, jockey Luis Saez galloped the horse trained by Robert Falcone. A boot was placed on the young horse’s right leg and he was eliminated.

Butter Lou was subsequently euthanized due to injuries to her right front paw. He is the third horse to be euthanized following an incident during a race at this competition.

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