Turf juveniles Victory to Victory, Good Samaritan earn Breeders’ Cup spots at Woodbine
One day after sending out champion Tepin to beat the boys in the Woodbine Mile, trainer Mark Casse deployed a four-strong force in hopes of winning his third straight Natalma (G1) (and seventh overall). The maiden Victory to Victory came through for the barn and stamped her ticket to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1). She’ll try to follow in the hoofsteps of last year’s Natalma heroine Catch a Glimpse, another Casse pupil who is likewise ridden by Florent Geroux. Catch a Glimpse went on to Breeders’ Cup glory, and compiled an eight-race winning streak that was recently halted at Saratoga.
Victory to Victory had finished a troubled fifth in her Spa debut prior to a rallying second in a Woodbine allowance prep. The application of blinkers worked wonders for the Live Oak Plantation homebred in the Natalma, where she went off as a 7-1 chance. The daughter of Exchange Rate and 2009 Canadian champion turf female Points of Grace broke alertly from post 13, then drafted just behind the fast pace of :22.69, :45.37 and 1:10.42.
As the field fanned out down the lane, Stormy Perfection loomed on the far outside, but Victory to Victory appeared galvanized by the challenge on her flank. Finding more the further they went, she forged 2 1/2 lengths clear in a final time of 1:35.24 for the firm-turf mile.
“She broke very sharply from the gate,” Geroux said. “From there we got a nice position, without taking any bumping or anything. Turning for home she gave me a very nice kick.”
“I think the blinkers made a big difference today,” said Norman Casse, the trainer’s son and assistant. “We knew she was a very talented horse, and she’s finally starting to figure things out.”
The 14-1 Stormy Perfection held second by 1 1/2 lengths from Beat the Benchmark. Thora Barber, the least fancied of Casse’s quartet at 27-1, missed the break but finished well to grab fourth. Casse’s other runners were Black Canary (seventh) and Enstone (last of 14). The 7-2 favorite, Red Lodge, faded to 12th after arguing the pace with Will She (13th).
As a measure of Victory to Victory’s talent, she was easily best of those in proximity to the pace.
Casse entered the day with a reasonable chance of a graded double, but 4-5 favorite Conquest Farenheit found the Bill Mott-trained Good Samaritan too hot in the $206,400 Summer S. (G2). Rolling from last to first for Joel Rosario, the 3-1 second choice readily swept past Conquest Farenheit and booked his spot in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1).
Good Samaritan, who had captured his Saratoga debut in similar style, covered the grassy mile in 1:34.38 to remain perfect from two starts. The Harlan’s Holiday colt looks a very smart prospect for the partnership of China Horse Club and breeder WinStar Farm.
“He’s very professional,” Rosario said. “When he starts running, he’s very focused – when I rode him last time, he was the same way. He’s shown that he had a lot of talent. He may have a good future.”
Good Samaritan hails from one of the most prolific families in the Stud Book. Out of the multiple stakes-placed Pulpit mare Pull Dancer (who was beaten in a photo at Woodbine in the 2009 Alywow), he counts as a near relative Wiseman’s Ferry (sire of future Hall of Famer Wise Dan). Further back, one finds champion Outstandingly, Sky Mesa, and Bernstein (sire of future Hall of Famer Tepin). This is the branch of the *La Troienne line descending via Busanda, the dam of legendary Buckpasser.
Photos courtesy of Melanie Martines (@SkimtheRail) via Twitter