Mark Casse trains Gretzky the Nice
The final time a Gretzky got here down from Canada to America to ply his commerce, the entire nation north of the border wailed in agony.
It was August 1988, and their favourite hockey son, Wayne Gretzky was traded by the Edmonton Oilers to a tepid playoff crew from Los Angeles known as the Kings. His new crew modified their colours from Laker purple and gold to Raider black and silver.
A brand new age had begun. That blockbuster commerce was one of the memorable offers involving a famous person. On the time, “The Nice One,” as he was identified, had already conjured comparisons with the very best that the sport supplied. He spent 8 seasons taking the franchise to the Stanley Cup Finals. It was a deliverance. Flash ahead to 2020 and one other Gretzky (known as the Nice, after all) is poised for an arrival. This time although there is not going to be any wailing. That’s as a result of he’s a two-year-old Thoroughbred certain for the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland.
This Gretzky is owned by Gary Barber/Eclipse Thoroughbred Companions and conditioned by the legendary Mark Casse, the son of a horseman. The latter in these connections is a grasp tactician with the singular potential to concentrate on a horse’s weaknesses and discover the means to handle them swiftly. Casse is aware of how you can choose them, in different phrases. That goes for Thoroughbreds and people. It’s one among many explanation why house owners like Gary Barber and John Oxley, a former polo participant, have caught with him so lengthy.
The final time Keeneland hosted a Breeders’ Cup, he scored 2 victories along with his prize grass runners, the younger Catch a Glimpse and the indomitable, Tepin. It was a banner day. Casse’s strategy to conditioning isn’t perfunctory. It’s a paradigm which meticulously morphs to evolve towards one imaginative and prescient—in search of the right spot to enter.
Casse has made a profession of discovering the precise race, the precise jockey, and with somewhat likelihood on his aspect, the proper win. His racing operations didn’t simply revolve round accruing wins. When he relocated his base to Canada beginning within the late Nineteen Nineties, it was each a brand new begin and a stroke of genius. It allowed him to take full benefit of a racing vacuum that had developed. He planted roots, ultimately constructing a coaching facility that may rival any in North America.
Now 5 years later, his barn as soon as once more arrives at Keeneland with one other energy turf runner, Gretzky the Nice out of the budding sire, Nyquist. Apparently sufficient, it was Nyquist who received the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on the identical day that Tepin scored her run-away victory within the Mile.
The query I’ve pertaining to Casse is how for much longer will he proceed to coach? Clearly, he’s nonetheless on the prime of his recreation, profitable the Preakness final 12 months with Warfare of Will, and sending one other squad of runners to the Breeders’ Cup. After all, now that his son, Norm, has entered the household enterprise as a full-time coach, maybe the senior Casse will defer to the youthful—very similar to Mark’s father did for him? What we do know is that Gretzky the Nice is headed to $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf on November 6. Here’s a basic Casse runner who combines expertise and a piece ethic to kind a strong mixture. His work at Woodbine on 10/17 was simply the kind of motion one likes to see at this stage – 5f @.59.
In 4 begins this 12 months, all at Woodbine, Gretzky the Nice has already eclipsed a lot of the Canadian competitors on the turf. Within the quick subject Hovering Free Stakes (Listed) he drove to the road late, simply nipping Into Dawn (W. Ward) and besting favourite Able to Repeat (G. Cox). Subsequent, he stretched out to a mile within the Summer season Stakes (G1) with a surging transfer within the stretch – enroute to a 3+ size win (once more, repeating with a drubbing of Able to Repeat). Each instances with Kazushi Kimura aboard, this “Nice One” proved he was the very best 2-yr-old miler in Canada.
The time has arrived for some deeper waters. Some will say that not delivery Gretzky out of Woodbine could possibly be detrimental to the colt. However that is Casse we’re speaking about. He isn’t fearful. The son of Nyquist has all of the instruments mandatory. Within the Juvenile Turf, he’ll in all probability meet the likes of Battleground, Mutasaabeq, Cadillac, and New Mandate, who all are achieved runners. None of them are going to be the heavy favourite. The purpose? That is an extremely open contest that has all types of choices open to bettors.
It will likely be a free-for-all.
And that’s the manner the Casse paradigm likes it.