NYRA Press Release: Mark Casse worked several of his Grade 1 stakes stars Friday morning, as Tepin and World Approval worked on the Oklahoma turf course within minutes of each other, shortly after Noble Bird went a sharp half-mile on the main track.
Shortly before 10:00 a.m., champion turf mare Tepin went a typically easy four furlongs in 50.42 seconds, galloping out five-eighths in 1:04 beneath regular rider Julien Leparoux. Casse reported that Tepin, who won the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot to stretch her stakes-winning streak to seven, will take on the boys once again in the $500,000 Fourstardave Handicap, a newly-minted Grade 1 at one mile on turf August 13.
“The plan is to run Tepin in the Fourstardave and Catch a Glimpse in the Lake Placid,” said Casse. “I was kind of struggling with how we were going to get Tepin to the Woodbine Mile.”
Catch a Glimpse, who like Tepin is a perfect 5-for-5 this year after her front-running triumph in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational, is being pointed to the Grade 2, $300,000 Lake Placid on Sunday, August 21.
“The only thing that would keep me from running Catch a Glimpse here is how she handles the crowd,” explained Casse. “This is a very unique place because the crowd gets so close to you, and some horses can’t handle it. She’s not like Tepin – Tepin doesn’t care about anything.”
Moments after Tepin worked, United Nations winner World Approval turned in a brisk half-mile workout under Florent Geroux, going in 48.72 seconds, the fastest of 25 turf workouts at the distance. The grey gelding galloped out in 1:01 for five furlongs. “That was a big work for him,” Casse noted. “Florent said he’s a funny kind of horse to ride – the faster he goes, the lower his head gets. He’ll run in the Arlington Million if all goes well, but if we decide to miss that race he could go in the Sword Dancer. His new strategy, staying close to the pace, has made him more effective; he has a quick turn of speed.”
Over on the main track, Noble Bird breezed four furlongs in a sharp 47.66 seconds, the second-fastest of 47 works at the distance behind the Casse-trained Diva Express, who went in 47.31. The move had Casse thinking big with the 5-year-old horse, who was scratched from the Suburban on July 9. “That was as good as I’ve ever seen Noble Bird work this morning,” noted Casse. “He went 47, and looking at him, I thought he went in 50, so he may have earned himself a ticket to the Whitney. We’ll see how he comes out of it. He just wasn’t himself the morning of the Suburban. He’s a very aggressive horse and we just couldn’t get him to go, but when the real Noble Bird shows up, he can run with anyone”
Meanwhile Mark’s son, Norm Casse, said that Bashford Manor winner Classic Empire and Debutante winner Pretty City Dancer are being pointed respectively to the Grade 1 Hopeful and Spinaway on the final weekend at Saratoga.
“As of right now, that’s the plan,” he said.
Both worked four furlongs this morning at Churchill Downs, with Classic Empire going in a bullet 46.40 seconds.
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