FORT ERIE, September 9 – Mark Casse, Canada’s leading conditioner in 2022, is sending out a pair of starters in the 87th running of the $400,000 Prince of Wales Stakes.
Sir For Sure, the third-place finisher in the Queen’s Plate, and Fast Feet the runner-up in the prestigious Cup and Saucer Stakes as a two-year-old will take on five other runners on Tuesday, September 13.
A gelded son of Sligo Bay (IRE), Sir For Sure enters the second leg of Canada’s Triple Crown presented by OLG with a mark of 2-0-1 from four starts in 2022.
The Rene and Darlene Hunderup homebred won the Plate Trial in July and broke his maiden in impressive fashion at Gulfstream Park in February.
“When he won down at Gulfstream, it was one of the more impressive races I’ve seen in a long time,” said Casse. “I watched the race, and when he won my mouth was open like woah. At that point in time, I said to Rene and Darlene, I think this horse could maybe win the Queen’s Plate. That’s how impressed I was with his win at Gulfstream.”
Since running in the Queen’s Plate on August 21, Casse has prepped Sir For Sure for the Prince of Wales by transitioning him to the dirt training track to get ready for his debut over the surface.
His pedigree leans toward the grass and his prior racing experience has come on turf or tapeta. But he’s not alone, none of the horses running in the Prince of Wales have experience racing over dirt.
“He has the advantage that he was broke at our training centre in Florida,” said Casse. “Our training centre is dirt, and he has trained a lot on dirt. So, we have a pretty good idea of how he gets over the surface. This is a big transition from synthetic to dirt, but he’s handled it very well. I would think he would be one of the horses to beat.”
The other thing all seven entrants will have in common when they enter the gate is the chance to etch themselves in the history books by winning one of Canada’s most prestigious races.
“Triple Crown races are everything. It’s what fuels our industry in so many ways,” said Casse. “This race is important because these big races, these big money purses, it’s what brings horses to Canada, and makes people want to pursue them.”
Declan Carroll will be on top Sir For Sure, reprising his role from the Queen’s Plate.
Fast Feet is the second Casse starter. He was supplemented to the Prince of Wales by owner Gary Barber.
“He’s a big horse and training good. Gary and I talked about it, and he wanted to give it a shot” said Casse “So, that’s what we are doing. If you’re not in it, you can’t win it.”
Fast Feet’s results reflect his name. As a juvenile he led gate to wire in his maiden breaker, and the son of Tourist held the lead throughout the Cup and Saucer before being overtaken late. His last start was a strong third in an allowance field of older horses on August 12 at Woodbine Racetrack.
Other contenders in the Prince of Wales include graded stakes placed Duke of Love, and Ironstone.
Full Field (Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer)
1 – Duke of Love – Justin Stein – Josie Carroll
2 – Ironstone – Kazushi Kimura – Willie Armata
3 – Collaborative – Leo Salles – Ravendra Raghunath
4 – Fast Feet – Sahin Civaci – Mark Casse
5 – Sir For Sure – Declan Carroll – Mark Casse
6 – Ice Road – Jason Hoyte – Mike Dunslow
7 – Hunt Master – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Angus Buntain
Image: Sir For Sure and Declan Carroll after winning the Plate Trial on July 24 at Woodbine Racetrack (Michael Burns Photo)