Jockey Justin Stein guides Amalfi Coast to victory in the $150,000 Ontario Fashion Stakes at Woodbine Racetrack. Amalfi Coast is owned by Terra Racing Stable and trained by Kevin Attard. Woodbine/ Michael Burns Photo
Trainers Mark Casse and Josie Carroll will both be well represented in Saturday’s Grade 2 $175,000 Royal North, the first turf stakes race of the 2022 Woodbine season.
Casse sends out multiple graded stakes winner Amalfi Coast, graded stakes placed Jeanie B, multiple graded stakes placed La Libertee, and graded stakes winner Souper Sensational. Multiple stakes winner Boardroom, Gidgetta, and stakes winner Lady War Machine comprise Carroll’s talented trio.
Purchased for $475,000 (U.S.) by Tracy Farmer at the 2021 Keeneland Association November Breeding Stock Sale, Amalfi Coast will look to defend her Royal North title after a hard-fought nose win in last year’s running.
Bred in Ontario by Terra Farms Ltd., the now 6-year-old daughter of Tapizar-Include Katherine was feted as Canada’s champion female sprinter in 2021 after a season in which she posted a mark of 2-1-2 from five starts. Her other victory last year came in the Grade 3 Ontario Fashion Stakes.
Amalfi Coast, sporting a lifetime record of 7-3-4, will make her 20th career start on Saturday.
“We got her to Ocala and it took her a while to come around,” said Casse. “She ran hard and had a very successful season last year. It took her some time to get her feet under her. I think she was tired. Between the racing and the sale – horse sales are extremely hard on horses, mentally and physically – it was a long year. But she’s trained very well recently, and she usually comes with her A-game, and I would expect her to.”
A 5-year-old daughter of Bated Breath (GB)-Effie B (GB), Jeanie B has missed a trip to the winner’s circle by a nose and neck in two of her past three stakes engagements.
Last year, the chestnut mare, bred in Great Britain by E & R Bastian, lost in a photo to Amalfi Coast in the Royal North. In her most recent effort, the Long Branch Stakes, a 5 ½-furlong Tapeta event at Woodbine on April 16, she was collared late by Dreaming of Drew.
“That’s twice [narrow losses] for her now. I kind of feel like Jeanie B is training better than ever. She tries hard. She does have a little advantage in that she has a couple of races under her belt this year.”
Owned by CJ Thoroughbreds, Jeanie B is 4-5-2 from 16 starts.
La Libertee, bred and owned by Tracy Farmer, is chasing her first stakes win.
The 4-year-old daughter of Constitution-La Rambla has three wins and four thirds from 12 career starts.
Last year, the Kentucky-bred chestnut posted two wins and four thirds in nine starts, with the final five races coming at Woodbine.
La Libertee made her seasonal debut in March at Gulfstream, finishing fourth in the Captiva Island Stakes.
“She likes this distance of this race on the grass, and she has a really good pedigree,” said Casse. “We just hope to pick up some Grade 2 black type with her. That would be a humungous deal for her in the future as a broodmare.”
Souper Sensational, a 4-year-old daughter of Curlin-Kateri, arrives at the Royal North off an eventful trip in the Grade 2 Raven Run at Keeneland last October.
Checked at the five-eighths pole, the Live Oak Plantation chestnut finished fifth, seven lengths behind winner Caramel Swirl.
A return to Woodbine could bode well for Souper Sensational, who won her first two lifetime starts at the Toronto oval, including the Glorious Song Stakes in October 2020.
The Royal North will be the first turf test for the filly bred in Kentucky by Newtownanner Stud.
“She hasn’t run in a while,” started Casse. “She’s a top-class filly and has run against some of the best fillies in North America. It’s kind of a guess on how she’ll handle the turf, but you think she would be fine. She’s a good horse, so we’ll see. It’s a starting point. We have some big plans for her the rest of the year, and we want to get her started.”
The Royal North is scheduled as the eighth race on Saturday’s 10-race program. First post is 1:10 p.m. Fans can watch and wager on all the action through HPIBet.com or the Dark Horse Bets app.
$175,000 ROYAL NORTH STAKES
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1 – Lady War Machine – Luis Contreras – Josie Carroll
2 – In Good Spirits – David Moran – Albert Stall Jr.
3 – Jeanie B (GB) – Antonio Gallardo – Mark Casse
4 – La Libertee (S) – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Mark Casse
5 – Boardroom – Rafael Hernandez – Josie Carroll
6 – Amalfi Coast – Justin Stein – Mark Casse
7 – Gidgetta – Kazushi Kimura – Josie Carroll
8 – Souper Sensational – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse