Twitter: BloodHorse

Canadian-bred Flameaway being pointed to Plate following Derby run

The horse escaped significant injury at the rain soaked Kentucky Derby

Never has a 13th-place finish been so easy to accept for trainer Mark Casse.

Canadian-bred Flameaway finished a distant 13th in the Kentucky Derby at a rain-soaked Churchill Downs on Saturday. But more importantly, the three-year-old escaped significant injury despite twice taking a bad step late in the race.

“Right after the race, (jockey) Jose Lezcano came back and said, ‘I’m worried he hurt himself,’” Casse said Monday. “So we rushed back and I was sick about that.

“We got him back to the barn and he was fine so that kind of made me forget he didn’t run well. It just made me happy he was OK.”

RELATED: Casse bullish on Canadian-bred State of Honor’s chances in Kentucky Derby

In fact, Casse said Flameaway will now be pointed towards the $1-million Queen’s Plate on June 30 at Woodbine Racetrack. In February, Flameaway was installed as the 5-1 Winterbook second choice behind Telekinesis (4-1) — another Casse trainee.

The Winterbook offered early odds on all 109 three-year-olds — 95 colts and geldings and 14 fillies — nominated to the 2018 Canadian Triple Crown.

Filly Wonder Gadot provided Casse with his Derby weekend highlight. She finished second in the US$1-million Kentucky Oaks on Friday, a half-length behind Monomoy Girl.

Wonder Gadot narrowly missed becoming the second Canadian-bred to win this event after Gal In A Ruckus did so in ‘95 for owner John Oxley.

And the possibility exists that both Wonder Gadot and Telekinesis could join Flameaway in the Plate. Casse said Wonder Gadot will definitely run in the $500,000 Woodbine Oaks and expects Telekinesis to go postward in the $125,000 Plate Trial. Both races will be held June 9 at Woodbine.

“I haven’t totally discussed (Flameaway running in Plate) with Mr. Oxley but we did have a conversation before the Derby about it and so I feel pretty certain that’s where we’re going,” Casse said. “I’ve definitely talked to Gary Barber (Wonder Gadot’s owner) and we’re going to go to the Oaks with the hopes of making the Queen’s Plate.

“We flirted with the idea of running (Telekinesis) in the Preakness but as it stands today he’s going to come up and run in the Plate Trial. So we actually have three extremely talented three-year-olds that are going to come up and run there.”

Wonder Gadot (6-1), named after Wonder Woman actress Gal Gadot, was third in the Winterbook odds. In 2014, filly Lexie Lou earned Casse, 10 times Canadian racing’s top trainer, his first Queen’s Plate victory after winning the Oaks.

The Oaks is the first race of the Canadian Triple Tiara, the Triple Crown for Canadian-foaled fillies.

“We already know Wonder Gadot loves the synthetic (surface Queen’s Plate is run on),” Casse said. “She’s run on it once and won the Mazarine Stakes (in 2017) at Woodbine by six lengths.

“Flameaway broke his maiden on it early in his career. Telekinesis has never run on it but he’s so talented that I don’t think it will matter.”

Casse said the Derby weather Saturday left him very disheartened.

RELATED: Classic Empire gives trainer Mark Casse best shot at Kentucky Derby title

“As a trainer, all you want is a good, fair surface because if your horse at least gets to try and they beat you, then they beat you,” Casse said. “The horse that won the race (Justify, bred by Vancouver’s John Gunther) is a great horse, there’s no question about.

“Could we have possibly finished better had the track been in different shape? I think so.”

Casse said Flameaway had enjoyed previous success in wet conditions but the sheer volume of rain in Kentucky made running very difficult.

“It (wet conditions) is something very few get to experience because for the most part if there was a track like, we would scratch and not run,” he said. “But this is the Kentucky Derby … he earned his way there.”

Flameaway qualified for the Derby by winning the Sam F. Davis Stakes and finishing second in both the Tampa Bay Derby and Blue Grass Stakes.

Flameaway didn’t emerge from the Derby unscathed, finishing with a gash on one of his back legs. But Casse was very thankful it wasn’t worse.

“It was not serious and he’s fine,” Casse said. “I was with him and Wonder Gadot (on Monday morning) and they looked great.

“It (injury scare) gives you perspective that, ‘Hey, you know what? It’s one race, we’ll go on. At least he’s OK.’”

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

VIDEO & PICS: Campbell River holds its first Highland Gathering

Campbell River’s first Highland Gathering went off without a hitch last weekend… Continue reading

Campbell River raises $10,000 for hospital in Scrap Metal Challenge

Grand total over first seven years of event is nearing $100,000

UPDATED: Lightning sparks fires near remote North Island access roads

Air quality advisory in effect in Campbell River

Campbell River’s Discovery Pier two-times lucky for Lynn Kingston

Lynn Kingston found the sure way to impress her visiting family from… Continue reading

Logger Sports and Highland Gathering a big hit at Nunns Creek Park this weekend

The Salmon Festival Loggers Sports and Campbell River Highland Gathering events continue… Continue reading

VIDEO & PICS: Campbell River holds its first Highland Gathering

Campbell River’s first Highland Gathering went off without a hitch last weekend… Continue reading

Child dies in boating incident in Okanagan

A North Vancouver family was boating on Kalamalka Lake in Vernon when the incident occured

B.C. Wildfires 2018: Province calls for federal aid

More fires have burned in B.C. already this year than did in all of 2017

Kayak in Indian Arm waters off B.C.’s Deep Cove and feast on famous doughnuts

About a half hour drive from Vancouver, Deep Cove is a great kayaking spot for locals and tourists

Smokey skies across Vancouver Island expected to last until Wednesday

The province of B.C. has issued a special bulletin for all of Vancouver Island

Child, 4, attacked by cougar near Fernie

The BC Conservation Officer Service said it happened while the family was fishing

Trans Mountain pipeline protesters practise resisting police at Camp Cloud

Last week, a Supreme Court judge granted the City of Burnaby an injunction ordering protesters to remove everything from the site

Gun used in Fredericton killings is legal, man had licence

Police Chief Leanne Fitch said the long gun is commonly available for purchase, and is not a prohibited or restricted weapon

Ontario will sell pot online when legalization comes in the fall

There are further plans to have pot in private retail stores in early 2019

Most Read