When Mark Casse was at Royal Ascot in 2016, he was supposed to meet Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, but didn’t. This time, the Hall of Fame trainer, who will send out two starters in Sunday’s Queen’s Plate, finally got his wish.
In the aftermath of superstar Tepin’s triumph in last year’s Queen Anne Stakes, Casse, who’ll be represented by King and His Court and State of Honor in this year’s edition of the Queen’s Plate, was told he would have an audience with the Queen.
Things, however, didn’t quite go as planned.
“I was supposed to meet with the Queen, but the press just kept me and kept me, so when I got out of there, I said, ‘When do I get to meet the Queen?’ They told me that I had missed her. I did a lot of interviews that day and one of the question was, ‘Who is the one person you most want to meet?’ I told them it was the Queen, but I missed her. They asked me if I would ever come back and I told them I would, but only if I get to meet the Queen.”
On June 23, Casse was back at Ascot, this time to watch the John Oxley-owned La Coronel contest the Group 1 Coronation Stakes.
While the daughter of Colonel John finished fifth, there was a silver lining for the man with 2,267 lifetime wins.
“Her representative came to our box and said, ‘The Queen wants to meet you.’ So we went and met her. I’ll never forget it. Mr. and Mrs. Oxley came and Tina (Casse’s wife) and Colby (his son) did as well. She’s a sweet, sweet lady.
“Colby said to me, ‘Dad, my legs were shaking.’ Of course, I probably talked too much, but it was a nice conversation. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life, I would say. It just never stops astonishing me of the people you can meet because of horses.”
So, now that Casse has been to London to see the Queen, he’s hoping to keep the royal theme going with a triumph in Sunday’s Queen’s Plate.
He’ll have two chances to win his second Plate. Lexie Lou delivered his first in 2014.
King and His Court, a four-time winner from 13 starts, comes into the Gallop for the Guineas with three lifetime stakes scores and $ 426,412 in purse earnings.
Gary Barber and Adam Wachtel own the son of Court Vision, who won the Wando Stakes on May 7 and was second in the Plate Trial on June 11.
“I thought his race in the Wando was good,” offered Casse. “I don’t think you saw the real King and His Court in the Plate Trial. At no point in time, to me, did he look happy. I thought Gary (jockey, Boulanger) was always having to ride him to be where he was. I was surprised he ran as well as he did. He seems to be much happier. Hopefully, there is going to be some speed in there.”
State of Honor, who contested this year’s Kentucky Derby (finishing 19th), is Casse’s other Plate hopeful.
The son of To Honor and Serve finished third in the Plate Trial. The bay, 1-4-3 in 12 starts, is owned by Conrad Farms and will be ridden by Patrick Husbands.
“He’s coming into this better than he went into the Plate Trial,” said trainer Mark Casse, of the career earner of $ 423,736. “He missed a little time after the Derby. He’s trained into this much better. It’s a question of how far he will go. He’s going to be up on the lead. We’ve found that’s the only way to do it, so we’ll see how far he can go.”
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