Trainer Mark Casse grew up in Ocala Florida on Cardinal Hill Farm. His father states he was foaled not born. Casse says when other kids were coloring in coloring books he was reading the Racing Form. I believe him. At 8 years old he went to Woodbine for the first time. His father was one of the founders of the Ocala Breeder’s Sales Co. He learned the breeding business so well he was running his fathers horse farm at 15. At 17 Mark Casse was a licensed trainer in Massachusetts.
Casse understands racing from a horse breeder’s perspective. His very young years growing up on a breeding farm supplied Casse with a college education on confirmation, pedigree and horse racing and Casse knows what confirmation contributes to running and winning.
The only way you can identify good conformation is to be schooled by people who know what it is. Casse took this hand on education straight to the top of racing. Along the way he met Harry Mangurian who owned the Boston Celtics. Mangurian signed Larry Bird and Mark Casse.
Harry Mangurian owned Mockingbird Bird farm in Ocala and he hired Mark Casse to train his racing stable. He had 900 horses on his farm. I could just about hear the meeting in my mind between Mangurian and Casse. It went something like this: Mark I want you to pick 50 of the best horses on the farm and race them. I am sure Mark Casse said OK with a smile. He probably saw 10 runners who had good confirmation while talking to Mangurian. Mangurian and Casse raced and won constantly.
Later Mangurian sold his farm to Eugene Melnyk and he left horse racing. Melnyk was in the pharmaceutical industry. He also owned the Ottawa Senators, a professional ice hockey team. Wind blew some luck in Mark Casse’s direction that day when Melnyk offered Casse the same training position that he had with Mangurian.
Today Casse has many very wealthy owners like John Oxley who has won 39 million dollars on the track and Gary Barber who was the executive producer for the movie Seabiscuit. Because Casse has very high end owners that means he has to produce.
Woodbine is located in Toronto Canada. At one time I was a regional manager for a Photography company and they wanted me to move their office so I did. I moved them to an office that was about a 10 minute ride to Woodbine racetrack. I know because after about 50 trips to the track it never took more than 10 minutes to get to Woodbine.
Woodbine is a beautiful well run track. Mark Casse fit in perfectly. He moved there in 1998 although he still calls Ocala home.
I am an exacta player so all stats are for the exacta. Woodbine opens next month. Here are some interesting facts about Mark Casse at Woodbine.
Over the past 4 years Mark Casse went to post 2,265 times and he was in the exacta 820 times for a 36% exacta cash rate that’s about 566 races a year.
Post position can have an effect on a race and most players only talk about the outside post position as a bad post. Mark Casse loaded 299 runners in post position 3. He hit the exacta with a 129 for a 43% strike rate. Post position 1 is his second best draw with 275-104-38%. Post position 7 he is 221-73-33%, his lowest exacta strike rate. So post position does have an effect on the out come of the race. 10 percentage points higher is significant from post 3 to post 7.
What race Casse enters his horse on a race card is interesting. Race 1 he has started 189 horses and he hit with 85 for a 45% exacta hit rate. Casse went 213-85-40% in the second race of the day and the third race carded he went 201-87-43%. His entries for race 5 are 202-62-31% in the exacta. These 3 early races are the only 40% stats from the race card.
Mark Casse in race 1 and post position 3 could be a really good exacta bet.
I have always thought of Casse as a miler. His stats say he is not. At 1 mile he sent 167 horses to post, he hit the exacta 39 times for a 23% strike rate. I have to admit I have made a lot of uneducated bets at a mile on Mark Casse at Woodbine based on my belief Casse is a superior miler. Casse’s 1 mile is actually 7 furlongs which is 660 feet less than a mile; he went 443-180-41% at 7 furlongs.
Weight is an issue that is not really understood and how it affects the outcome of a race. Casse is at his best when his horse is carrying 121 pounds where he had 412 races, was in 163 exactas for a 39% exacta stat. At 117 ponds Casse had 159 runners and 48 exactas for a 30% strike rate. I have always thought the less weight the faster a horse will run. Class may be the weight equalizer.
Patrick Husbands is Mark Casse’s Go-To rider. Casse and Husbands went 964-418-43% in the exacta stats. Casse and Husbands are a little better in sprints; they have 520 races with 238 exactas for a 46% hit rate. There are 164 race days for Woodbine this year. Patrick Husbands and Mark Casse get about 241 runners a year, about 1 ½ runners per day so there is opportunity even with a lot of favorites to evaluate and bet or pass.
Jermaine Bridgmohan had 39 races for Casse, 9 exactas hits for a 23% exacta rate. He rode 1 favorite for Casse and that represents only 2% favorites. Patrick Husbands rode 380 favorites from his 964 races for Casse and hit 231 exactas for a 61% strike rate. This means 39% of his runners were favorites. This stat says Mark Casse knows when his horse is ready to run a big race and hit the exacta.
Mark Casse gets pedigree horses and class is where the pedigree shows up. Claiming events are his lowest strike rate with 214-70-33% however, in Maiden Claim races Casse is 211-84-40%. I would watch out for Maiden Special Weights runners dropping into a Maiden Claim races which is the biggest drop in racing.
When you have a trainer that all his horses have good pedigree there are 2 class levels that dominate Casse’s efforts; Maiden Special Weights which Casse is 680-246-39% and Stakes races which he produced 513-173-34% exacta strike rate. 22% of Mark Casse runners are in Stakes races. You can see through his stats that 1,193 of the 2265 starts were from Maiden Special Weights and Stakes races. 52% of all runners are from those 2 class levels that is really impressive.
Mark Casse may hit everything at a very high percentage but as a player and a guy that has a, Go-To play I want to know how he produces on all his runners that went off at 3/1. Casse sent 127 starters to the gate and hit with 50 for a 39% strike rate for 3/1. I wish Woodbine was open now because Mark Casse is a Go-To exacta play.
I have a play at Santa Anita today, Race 10, the #5 horse Ice Kat, 8/1 odds. A Richard Baltas Lay 4 in a Route. Overall his stat are 37-15-40%. This is a pattern play for Layoffs. Every race has a higher percentage of exactas than the race before in the 4-race Layoff form cycle. He starts out at 29%, goes to 30%, to 36%, then his best stat 40%. Inside these numbers Baltas had 37 races and 29 of these were non favorites which he scored with 10 hits in the exacta. It is sort of unusual; you get a stat that is much better than the favorite.
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