Mark Casse

Top Kentucky Derby Trainers – Mark Casse

Canada loves its horses. Canada also loves winners, like four-time Sovereign Award-winning trainer Mark Casse. Doing most of his damage at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, Casse is coming off a stellar 2012 campaign that saw his stable earn over $10.2 million, good for seventh overall in North America.

Born in Indianapolis in 1961, Casse took over his father Norm’s business at the tender age of 15 and officially became a trainer three years later. His journey first took him north in 1998, and he’s spent the past decade-plus racking up the wins at Woodbine – exactly 600 of them in the ‘00s. Casse has topped the victory charts at Woodbine every year since 2007 inclusive.

His success doesn’t stop at the 49th Parallel. Casse’s breakthrough 2012 season included 11 stakes wins in the United States, where he has 32 stalls at Palm Meadows and another eight at Gulfstream Park. His horse Prospective was a big winner in Florida last year, taking the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby before settling for 18th at the Kentucky Derby. Even better, Spring in the Air won the Grade 1 Alcibiades at Keeneland on the way to fifth place at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.

Casse certainly knows his way around the 2-year-olds. His 2012 crop of juveniles also included Uncaptured, who emerged as one of the top early contenders for the 2013 Kentucky Derby with six wins in his first seven races. After crushing the competition at Woodbine, Uncaptured invaded Churchill Downs, taking the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes and the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes.

Back in Florida, reports at press time have Uncaptured being taken off the Triple Crown trail because of a bruised foot that has caused him to miss some training. Probably nothing major, but if things unravel, Casse has three other horses who could end up in Lexington this year: Gunderman, Northern Lion and Dynamic Sky. Of the three, Dynamic Sky is the most established, winning the Simcoe at Woodbine and finishing sixth behind Shanghai Bobby at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Let’s just hope the owners don’t lock out the horses, eh?