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

Construction of LNG Canada plant still on hold

Construction will only begin following a positive final investment decision

VIDEO: Watch ex-Kitimat video director Stephano Barberis’ new reel, featuring his own new music

Breathe of My Leaves music project debuts ‘Chimera’ album of electronic sounds

Sulphur dioxide pollution over Kitimat could be eliminated after 2024

New process will eliminate SO2 as a byproduct

Kitimat, Terrace home sales up from 2017

Optimism surrounding a potentially positive LNG decision one of the factors

B.C. Green Party pushes for wild salmon commissioner

The role would serve as a unifying force in the provincial government

VIDEO: Grand Forks shores up defences as floodwaters rise to peak levels

Canadian Forces, volunteers working to protect low-lying areas

Chilliwack Chiefs moving on to RBC Cup final after thrilling win over Ottawa

Kaden Pickering scored the winning goal in the 3rd period as Chilliwack won their semi-final 3-2.

VIDEO: As floodwaters recede, crews assess the damage to Grand Forks’ downtown

More than four dozen firefighters and building inspectors came out to help

Wellington Dukes pull off epic upset of Wenatchee at RBC Cup

The Dukes are off to the championship game after downing the Wild 2-1 Saturday at Prospera Centre.

Canada to face U.S. for bronze at world hockey championship

Canada was looking to play in the gold medal game for a fourth straight year, but saw 3-2 loss

Searchers for Vancouver Island father turn focus to Cowichan River

Cowichan SAR joined by many other SAR groups, volunteers now determined to find missing man

Vacationers urged to check for stowaway bats that could carry deadly disease

‘White-nose syndrome’ has killed millions of bats in North America, but hasn’t arrived in B.C. yet

Are B.C.’s gas prices enough to keep you from travelling May long weekend?

Gas prices in B.C. ranging from 125 cents per litre to more than 150 cents

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle wed in Windsor as millions watch

Windsor sparkled on a warm spring day as tens of thousands of people jammed its quaint roads

Most Read