In 2012, Mark Casse trained Uncaptured, a 2-year-old colt who won six of seven starts and four stakes.
This year, he trains Catherinethegreat, a 2-year-old daughter of Uncaptured who Friday won her second start and first stakes, rolling to a 4 1/4-length victory in the Grade 3, $150,000 Schuylerville on opening day at Saratoga.
Breaking on top from the rail under Jose Ortiz, Catherinethegreat opened up a one-length lead after running an opening half-mile in 44.64 seconds and kept on going, beating a slow-starting Nonna Madeline by 4 3/4 lengths. It was three-quarters of a length back to Congrats Gal in third.
Casse said when he saw Uncaptured as a yearling, he told his client, John Oxley, “I really want this one. When I saw her, I called him and said ‘I found the next Uncaptured.’”
While Uncaptured won his first start, Catherinethegreat finished second in her debut. She came back to win a maiden race at Gulfstream Park by 10 1/4 lengths, after ducking in at the break.
Catherinethegreat, under Jose Ortiz, broke straight on Friday while Nonna Madeline, the 3-2 favorite, broke slow. After running a quarter in 21.78 seconds and a half-mile in 44.64, Catherinethegreat had a length lead turning for home. Though Nonna Madeline had recovered to get in second at the top of the lane, she was no match for Catherinethegreat in the stretch.
“It didn’t hurt our feelings that [Nonna Madeline] got away a little slow,” Casse said. “That would have been a ding-dong battle up front probably.”
Catherinethegreat, whom Oxley bought for $170,000 at the OBS spring sale, covered the six furlongs in 1:09.98 and returned $8.40 to win as the second choice.
Casse said when he saw the opening fractions, “I was nervous. Afterwards, I was thinking she’s a pretty good horse.”
Ortiz said he didn’t ask Catherinethegreat to be on the lead, but he wasn’t going to concede it.
“I have a choice to take back, but nobody wanted it,” Ortiz said. “She was there on her own. We went pretty fast, but she was doing it on her own, I wasn’t pushing her to do it. I think we had a very good trip. She’s a very nice filly.”
Nonna Madeline, the 2-1 favorite, broke slowly out of the gate and was last early on. Velazquez advanced her into contention along the inside and was in striking position turning for home. But he said his filly got tired in the stretch.
“Not breaking, I had to use her a little bit the first part to get her where I wanted, then I sat and she sat well, but it was too much to make up,” Velazquez said.
Nonna Madeline held second by three-quarters of a length over Congrats Gal. It was 4 1/2 lengths back to Serengeti Empress who was followed, in order, by Lady Apple, Eyeinthesky, Fightress, Lonely Road, Trapping Pearl, and Blame the Frog.
Casse said he would probably point Catherinethegreat to the Grade 1 Spinaway here on Sept. 1.
This story originally appeared on DRF.com.
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