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

Open burning permitted again in Kamloops Fire Centre

Low fire rating prompts decision throughout Kamloops Fire Centre

B.C. Rural Party co-founder rebukes pro-NDP accusation

Telkwa Mayor Darcy Repen disputes being NDP campaign supporter

Juno nominated artist performing at LUNA in Revelstoke Sept. 29

Cris Derksen is an Indigenous cellist and was nominated for her album Orchestral Powwow

Glimpses of Revelstoke’s past for Sept.

120 Years Ago: Revelstoke Herald, September 17, 1898 A freight boat that… Continue reading

Covered in mud at the Revelstoke Women’s Enduro

108 women rode in the annual Revelstoke Women’s Enduro race on Saturday.… Continue reading

Weekday weather update

The rain moves in right across the Okanagan-Shuswap valley

New York books editor out after backlash over Jian Ghomeshi essay

Ian Buruma, who was appointed as editor of the New York Review of Books in late 2017, no longer works for the publication

B.C. couple plans sustainable, zero-waste life in the Shuswap

Plan includes building a tiny house before the snow flies

Housing slowdown forecast to cool B.C. economy

Conference Board says pipeline, trade uncertainty affecting investment

B.C. hockey product eyes shot at Olympic spot with China

Fletcher is one of 24 who travelled to Shenzhen, China for the first official Olympic dev camp.

Are you feeling lazy? That’s OK – it’s just science

UBC study shows that humans are hardwired to prefer being sloth-like

LETTER: Who do we blame for the tragedy of Marrisa Shen’s death?

The B.C. girl was killed in a Burnaby park last July

Competition tribunal to hear B.C.-based case on airline food starting in October

The competition commissioner argued Vancouver airport authority had exploited its market position

Seek compromise with U.S. on cannabis at border, lawyers urge Ottawa

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency sent tremors through Canada’s burgeoning cannabis sector

Most Read