Gretzky the Great shoots for hat trick in Summer Stakes
Alex Campbell Sep 18, 2020 DRF
ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Trainer Mark Casse will send out a pair of 2-year-olds in search of his fourth career victory in Sunday’s Grade 1, $250,000 Summer Stakes over one mile on the E.P. Taylor turf course.
The winner of the Summer Stakes will earn a fees-paid berth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf on Nov. 6 at Keeneland.
Casse won the Summer Stakes from 2015-17 with My Conquestadory, Conquest Typhoon, and Conquest Daddyo. This year, Casse has entered Soaring Free Stakes winner Gretzky the Great and Dolder Grand, who will be making his second career start.
Gretzky the Great has won back-to-back starts coming into the Summer Stakes and most recently recorded his first stakes win in the Soaring Free Stakes on Aug. 23. He earned a 79 Beyer Speed Figure in the 6 1/2-furlong turf sprint.
“He’s been great so far,” Casse said. “He’s come to play each time and he’s run hard. He’s also training well.”
Casse is hoping for a bounce-back effort out of Dolder Grand, an $800,000 purchase at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Co.’s 2-year-old in training sale in April. Dolder Grand was favored in his debut, a seven-furlong sprint on the turf, but wound up third behind Download, who also will run in the Summer.
“He reminds me a bit of War of Will,” Casse said. “They paid a lot of money for him and he’s trained very well. I was a little disappointed in his first start, but I can remember War of Will doing the exact same thing. When I ran War of Will first time out, I didn’t think he’d get beat and he finished third.”
Gretzky the Great, by Nyquist
Last 3 Beyers: 79-72-67
◗ He’s been up close to the pace in his three starts and could find himself setting the pace in the Summer.
Dolder Grand, by Candy Ride
Last Beyer: 49
◗ Dolder Grand is a half-brother to four stakes-placed runners, including a pair who are stakes-placed on the turf.
American Monarch, by American Pharoah
Last Beyer: 72
◗ He’ll be cutting back in distance slightly following his debut win over 1 1/16 miles on the turf Aug. 8 at Saratoga. That race has seen the sixth-place finisher come back to win a stakes in his next start, and the third-place finisher finished second in another stakes race.
Secret Potion, by Into Mischief
Last Beyer: 71
◗ He set slow fractions in that Aug. 8 maiden race on the turf and couldn’t hold off American Monarch in the stretch. He should get pace to run at this time around.
Ready to Repeat, by More Than Ready
Last 3 Beyers: 74-74-72
◗ He won the Victoria Stakes on Aug. 2 on synthetic before finishing third in the Soaring Free on the turf on Aug. 23.