Gale Force, making her first lifetime start, stormed to victory by a head over Let it Ride Mom to lead a 1-2 sweep for trainer Mark Casse here in Saturday’s Grade 3, $ 150,000 Mazarine Stakes. Solidly backed at 4-1, Gale Force settled on the inside as I’ll Take the Cake set the pace through a quarter of :24.38 and a half of :48.94 with the 3-1 second choice Just Be Kind in close attendance.
Let It Ride Mom, who had been watching the proceedings unfold from third place, stayed in touch while Matching Vows made a very menacing move around the final turn.
But as Matching Vows flattened out, and the front-runners faltered through six furlongs in 1:13.60, Gale Force and Let It Ride Mom were surging to the front in unison turning for home.
Let It Ride Mom appeared to have the upper hand with a furlong to run but Gale Force found her second wind under rider Eurico Rosa da Silva and proved best.
“I just didn’t want to rush her,” said Da Silva, who had stalked the pace with Gale Force while staying close to her stablemate. “She was so relaxed; her ears were up. She made the lead, and saw another horse come outside and pass her. She dug in; she’s so nice.”
The mile went in 1:38.60 and the final time was 1:44.96.
“In the race, she looked like she was 4 years old,” said Da Silva. “She was so game.”
Spring Tempest, who stalked the pace from midpack, rallied for third money, 1.5 lengths behind the top pair.
Lemon Zip closed for fourth, another three-quarters of a length back and a neck before Now Play Nice. Just Be Kind, Matching Vows and I’ll Take the Cake completed the order of finish.
Gale Force, owned by Dixiana Farms LLC, is by Giant’s Causeway out of Sealy Hill, who was Canada’s horse of the year for Casse and owner/breeder Eugene Melnyk in 2007.
The Mazarine victory was a record sixth for the Casse stable.
Gale Force returned $ 10.50, $ 5.10 and $ 3.50 as the third choice and keyed a 1-8 exacta with Let It Ride Mom ($ 3.00, $ 2.60) worth $ 34.40. Spring Tempest ($ 3.40) completed a 1-8-4 trifecta which returned $ 128.50. Lemon Zip rounded out a 1-8-4-3 superfecta worth $ 283.70 for $ 1.
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